One More Time: Forbes McHardy’s new album takes a new tack

Forbes McHardy

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As he launches his new album, Shipbuilders Of The Clyde, West Coast singer songwriter Forbes McHardy guides us through the tracks, and the local people and places that inspired them.

‘Here I go again with another album, but this time there’s a change in direction to my songwriting. I’ve been listening to the great Leonard Cohen, and his style has influenced me. I hope you like the songs on this album. A few have personal sentimental value and are heartfelt.

‘The album heading is the title track, Shipbuilders Of The Clyde, a tribute to all the hard working folks in the Clydeside shipbuilding industry in years gone bye. Gone but not forgotten!

‘Hebridean Sunset is a tune written by the late Colin Campbell of Oban, a well-loved and respected musician who was in great demand throughout his musical career. I met Colin in his house in Oban, and we went through the new lyrics I had written. We were looking forward to recording the song together, but sadly Colin fell ill and passed away.

‘After a period of time, it came to me that Colin’s nephew Duncan Forgrieve, a well-kent popular accordionist, would be the ideal person to play the tune. Duncan duly accepted, and features playing accordion on this track.

‘The Sons Of Iona is a memorial tribute to the four young Iona boys who tragically lost their lives crossing the Sound of Iona on December 13 1998. In our thoughts forever!
‘Shine A Light is dedicated to my only brother George Finlay McHardy, who was tragically killed in a road accident. Always in my thoughts Georgie Boy!

‘I’m Growing Old: this was my great grandfather’s favourite saying. He was 94 at the time! What a memory he had. He could remember starting work with the doctor, looking after the horses, and driving to the ‘howling wifies’ – the pregnant women.

‘I wrote One More Time for a dear old school pal who went through a rough time. I was so sad to hear of his passing. RIP old pal.

‘When An Angel Takes A Fall: this song came to me whilst I was in Glasgow, passing an unfortunate young man sitting on the street. His face was empty, and he looked so lost. I said to myself: I wonder if his angel has taken a fall. First line for a song!

‘As some the readers will remember, my late father George McHardy, the butcher, was submerged in music from when he was born. The first ever Fiddlers’ Rally was held here in Oban. and was the idea of my father, Jessie MacLeod and Jimmy Spence, the father of Oban’s Erik Spence.

‘Looking into my family background, it materialises I have many predecessors who were musicians. Pipe Major James McHardy was piper to Queen Victoria at Balmoral. William McHardy was the subject for the fiddler J Scott Skinner’s famous tunes The Iron Man and The Laird of Drumblair. History tells me that they were giants of men. What happened to me?

‘My musical journey has led me to many stages, from live Pebble Mill TV, supporting and working with the best of Irish artists such as Charlie Landsborough, Philomena Begley, Dominic Kirwan, Mary Duff, and Declan Nearney.

‘It has been my pleasure to work alongside local men Alastair Brown, Colin Campbell, Alastair Downie, Alastair Curry, Hector MacFadyen, Michael Garvin, and Duncan Forgrieve, to name a few.

‘I am forever grateful to the wonderful and talented musicians featured on the album: Archie McAllister on fiddle, Silas Sinclair on piano, vocals and accordion, Duncan Forgrieve on accordion, Ashley MacMillan on drums, Elissa Conway on backing vocals, and Lorne MacDougal on whistles.

‘A huge dept of gratitude goes to Finlay Wells of Nutshell Studios in Oban, a musician and co-producer of this album.

‘I would like to dedicate this album to a fine honest and family man: my friend who we had hoped to come to Oban, but sadly passed away and never made it. To you my old friend from Vilnius, Lithuania, Jaroslav Dovgialo! We will meet again my friend, in A Hebridean Sunset!’

The album is available from Alba Artshop in Oban, and online at musicscotland.com