Rory McLeod tells emotional truths

Friday, January 11, 2013

Left-wing singer-songwriter Rory McLeod is on a tour of Australia. As usual, the veteran English-born folk singer’s performances are not to be missed.

His six-week tour began at the Woodford Folk Festival, which he described as more diverse than other folk festivals he's been to. “You can be crossing 50 or 60 borders in a day [at Woodford]”, he told Green Left Weekly, referring to the wide variety of music styles presented.

From there, he will pass through all states and many towns — large and small.

His mission, he says, is to sing his songs and stories in order to “keep memory alive”.

“The history that we learn is always kings and queens and the history we read is always written by the victors,” he said.

McLeod's vision is to even-up the score by telling the stories of ordinary people. However, don't make the mistake of thinking his music is doctrinaire or dull.

He's passionate about exploring issues about personal relationships, often bringing up political issues through this prism. Many of his stories are the “emotional truth” from the people that he's met along the way.

On this tour, McLeod is promoting his most recent album, 2010’s Swings and Roundabouts. This album includes the songs elaborating the full gamut of emotions and scenarios created by relationship break-ups.

The topic could be considered depressing, but it is widely regarded as an uplifting album.

Among other things, the album includes “I'm not ready to die”. While not originally written for Alistair Hulett, the song has been dedicated on the album to the legendary Scottish singer-songwriter who died before his time in January 2010.

Like in Australia, gas “fracking” is a big issue in Europe due to the threats to water supplies and the environment more generally. McLeod identifies fracking as one of the most important environmental issues at the moment.

“Thirsting for War” is one song that takes up access to fresh water, which he believes is going to be an increasingly important issue.

McLeod is also singing “No Blood for Oil” against Western intervention in the Middle East.

McLeod said it was remarkable how often old songs smack you in the face with their current relevance. One example is “Farewell Welfare”, which appeared on his debut album Angry Love in 1985. It is only too topical again, given the huge cuts to welfare and social services by Britain’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

McLeod is an amazing passionate performer. You should make your way along to one of his performances near you.

Rory McLeod will be performing in Australia at: Cygnet Folk Festival, Tas (January 11-13), Melbourne, Vic (January 16), Hepburn Springs, Vic (January 17), Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW (January 18-20), Katoomba, NSW (January 23), Canberra, ACT (January 24), Yackandandah, Vic (January 25), Newstead Music Festival, Vic (January 26-28), Fremantle, WA (February 1), Broome, WA (February 3), Adelaide, SA (February 6), Briagalong, Vic (February 7), Bellarine, Vic (February 8), Melbourne, Vic (February 9). For full details: http://www.rorymcleod.com/rorymcleodstourdates.htm

From GLW issue 950

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