Accomplished young Perthshire piper and composer John Dew will soon release his debut album.
The album named Mackerel Sky, available from August 27, showcases his talents on bagpipes and whistles with a mixture of impressive traditional tunes.
John, who is from Crieff, is a keen competitive piper who graduated from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a first-class honours last year.
He has won various piping competitions throughout Scotland including The Open Piobaireachd at Aboyne Highland Games, The Kempel Star for Marches at the Skye Gathering and the Piobaireachd Event at the Royal National MOD in 2019, where he was crowned the MOD champion piper.
The young piper also plays with Inveraray and District Pipe Band, who won the World Pipe Band Championships in 2017 and 2019. He continues to play in the band as they prepare for their pre-worlds concert in 2022.
Mackerel Sky was recorded during the spring of 2021 and features John on bagpipes and whistles, Dylan Cairns on guitar and Eoghainn Beaton on bodhrán.
The debut album is a bold collection of tracks, showcasing John’s unique traditional sound and the mastery of his craft. The title track, Mackerel Sky is a powerful, upbeat tune with quick tempo while Osprey Flight is light and serene.
The album, which is largely self-composed, solidifies John’s distinct sound and follows on from his EP The High Bridge Walk, released in September 2020. He also released his first tunebook Pipe Tunes in December 2020.
“The inspiration behind the album was the idea of layering multiple bagpipes and whistle parts and exploring the concept of polyphony underneath traditional and neo-traditional tunes,” John said.
“My main inspiration for the title track was the mackerel sky clouds in Scotland – the tune depicts the build-up of the layering of the clouds and then the rainfall.
“This sort of tension and release was something I wanted to mimic in the music of the album through polyphonic textures – though there are a few simple tune sets as well. I love polyphony and harmony and wanted to explore writing in that style for bagpipes.”
The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Chris Waite at Gran’s House Studio. John will be performing tracks from the album in his hometown at The Crieff Folk Club on Wednesday, November 24.
He hopes that this unique debut album will help him become a recognised piper and composer to keep an eye out for in years to come.
Mackerel Sky will be available to buy on CD, stream and download on all digital platforms on Friday. For more information and to pre-order visit www.johndew-composition.com/shop