20:20 — 20 questions, 20 answers
Published December 25, 2020
In part 16 of our series,
Colin Clyne —award-winning singer-songwriter from Scotland—
is our first trans-continental guest. Colin shares with us about his music, his love for the sea, drawing, and more.
Photographs by Matt Jolly Photography | Courtesy of Colin Clyne
20:20 with Colin Clyne
NWM 1): Please introduce yourself, briefly, as a musician and human of Earth.
Colin: My name is Colin Clyne. I’m a husband and a father to two wonderful girls. I have a Cat called Diego. I write Alt-folk infused songs on many topics. I love Boxing, and I support Aberdeen FC [Football Club].
NWM 2): What was your first concert as a fan?
Colin: My first big one I recall was 1995, R.E.M at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. It was the Monster tour and R.E.M were on top of their game at this point after the trio of Out of Time, Automatic For The People, and Monster.
NWM 3): Name three things that make you smile.
Colin: My family, my friends, a (large) top quality single malt whisky.
NWM 4): Your latest single “You Can’t Wish A Good Guy Away” was released on November 13. It has excellent pacing, wonderful harmonica, and raw lyrics. Please tell us a little about this song.
Colin: It’s a self-explanatory song of scorn, defiance, irreverence and revenge. ‘Dylanesque’ in nature, a real fighting-fire-with-fire open letter to the detractors, if you will. There’s a lot of anger and resentment in this song.
NWM 5): Where were you and what were you doing when you realized COVID-19 had just changed your life as a performance artist?
Colin: Due to a number of personal reasons, I had just returned off the back of a lengthy period of not performing.
For me, playing live and touring can wait till the time is right for everyone.
I started playing a few support slots at the end of 2019, so 2020 was meant to be a year of releases, festivals, and some tours. However, we’ve had family tragedy, uncertainty, and all the other stresses that come with 2020 as much as anyone else. For me, playing live and touring can wait till the time is right for everyone.
NWM 6): Who might we be surprised to find on your playlist?
Colin: Countless 90s Dance music playlists, Little Mix (my kids, honest), Eminem.
NWM 7): What instrument holds the most fascination for you and do you play it?
Colin: Currently, I’m teaching myself the piano. I’ve always wanted to, but never quite got round to it. Watch this space!
NWM 8): Tell us about the differences of a life in music in California vs. the U.K.
Colin: In California, I was deemed a Celtic artist. In Scotland, I’ve been deemed an Americana artist. I feel I encompass both. Whisky-soaked songs, dried off in the Californian sunshine?
Whisky-soaked songs, dried off in the Californian sunshine?
NWM 9): How do you express your creativity other than through music?
Colin: I really enjoy drawing, it calms me, and I can get lost in it for hours. Usually, it starts as a school project for the kids then I take over and it becomes a full on project. Everyone else loses interest, and I’m like a dog with a bone—I simply can’t put it down.
NWM 10): Strangest road story?
Colin: I remember I played a gig in a venue in Portland, Oregon, many years back. I met this Irish guy at the bar after the show, and over a pint of Guinness he was telling me that he worked in a bar down the road called the ‘Leaky Roof.’ Immediately after he told me this the ceiling in the bar came crashing down, water pouring everywhere from a burst bath pipe from one of the rooms above.
NWM 11): What in particular fuels your inspiration? Tell us about your space or what is most necessary for your writing.
Colin: The sea. It inspires, isolates, and heals me. I still occasionally do trips on boats. I always take my guitar, and I always come home with a bag full of songs.
The sea … inspires, isolates, and heals me.
NWM 12): What was your most memorable performance and/or venue?
Colin: I did a run of shows with Big Country in Scotland. They were great shows, great venues, great times.
NWM 13): Favorite Colin Clyne song?
Colin: That’s a tough one. However, I recall listening to the in-studio playbacks of both The Never Ending Pageant and “Dunnottar Skies” and feeling that I had ‘done it.’ I had created something that truly matched up.
NWM 14): In the single preview for your song “Where the Ships Go to Die” (profound and powerful in our opinion) by Joe Whyte for Louder Than War magazine, you shared poetic imagery of the inspiration for the song and said you “have spent many years working on boats.” Please elaborate on that part of your life.
Colin: Before I recorded, released music and toured, I worked on ships all round the world.
NWM 15): What are your non-musical gifts/talents?
Colin: I played a lot of football as a young man. Eventually the knees and my musical aspirations overtook my desire to play. However, I realised on a trip to Newfoundland last year that my natural sporting talent is axe throwing!
My natural sporting talent is axe throwing!
NWM 16): What song/album could you play on repeat?
Colin: R.E.M – Out of Time. Every time I listen to it, it takes me back to where I was as a person when I first heard it.
NWM 17): There is a long American history of hill-country music being heavily influenced by Scot-Irish traditions. Consequently, a number of NoteWorthy Music’s most noteworthy friends have toured your part of the world and often speak fondly of their connection with Celtic and Irish music. I’m sure you’ve heard some of them, met them, played with them.
Please share your take on the United Kingdom’s influence on our Americana/roots music’s centuries-old round-trip journey across the Atlantic.
Colin: I always believed country music had some roots in traditional Scottish folk songs and bluegrass in Irish. Subsequently, I love them all.
NWM 18): If you could see anyone from throughout history perform who would it be?
Colin: Elvis, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Nick Drake … the list goes on and on.
NWM 19): Dylan or Donovan?
Colin: Although I do enjoy Donovan and he’s got some cracking songs, Dylan is my guy. I don’t go a day without either reading about him, listening to his music, listening to podcasts about him, watching documentaries on him. I’m a massive fan and he’s certainly an influence/inspiration.
NWM 20): What is one thing you would want our readers to know about which we might not know to ask?
Colin: I have a garage full of CD’s that need a signature on them and a home to be sent to. Hit me up.
I’m due to start working on a new single in the new year. The aim is to have an album or maybe a couple of EP’s out next year.
Where the Ships Go to Die
Colin Clyne is an award winning Scottish singer/songwriter (Alt-Folk/Americana).
Having spent ten years in California, Clyne is now back in Scotland blazing a trail in the UK music scene. He left San Diego as a two-time winner of The Best Acoustic Act at the prestigious San Diego Music Awards. NBC featured Colin in a top 12 list of best singer-songwriters associated with San Diego, amongst Tom Waits, Jewel, and the late Jim Croce.
Clyne has become a seasoned road vet, impressing crowds at venues from Hollywood’s infamous Viper Room to Aberdeen, Scotland’s Blue Lamp. He has also racked up numerous festival appearances including The Tartan Heart Festival (Belladrum), Southern Fried Festival, Enjoy Music Festival, True North, and sold out The Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
To learn more visit: http://www.colinclyne.com/
You may enjoy our previous 20:20 with Michael ‘Supe’ Granda
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