Malcolm MacWatt – Dark Harvest


Malcolm MacWatt - Dark Harvest

Malcolm MacWatt – Dark Harvest
Format: CD – Digital
Label: Need To Know Music
Release: 2024

Release date: January 26, 2024

Scottish musician Malcolm MacWatt continues his transatlantic journey with ‘Dark Harvest,’ the follow up to his highly acclaimed 2021 album, ‘Settler’

As a songwriter, MacWatt mixes Americana with British folklore, uncovering the past to explore contemporary issues. As a multi-instrumentalist, ‘Dark Harvest’ displays the Appalachian and Celtic influences that underpin MacWatt’s music. With the exception of piano, he plays almost all the instrumentation on the album, with much of the ornamentation being improvised at the moment of recording.

“I don’t read or write music”, explains MacWatt. “I have very basic equipment with no recording software so when I’m playing a fiddle part I need to be aware of what the banjo might do. For me, it’s a very immediate and exciting way to make music.”

From the opening song ‘Strong Is The North Wind’ to the closer ‘Semi Scotsman’, MacWatt lays out his personal politics and beliefs with sensitivity and compassion, and without apology. As the album title suggests, this is a sombre collection of songs gleaned from the shady side of history with underlying themes of karma and repercussion. While the lyrics speak of horror, violence and oppression, there’s also heroism, bravery and love, all delivered with beautiful melodies and a delicate touch.

Growing up in the Scottish Highlands, MacWatt has a deep respect for tradition and heritage, but considers himself a contemporary folk artist.

“Folk music isn’t stuck in the past”, he says. “It’s constantly being written and rewritten, and while I throw a little light onto certain historical events, I’m also trying to create new stories and songs that reflect life today.”

Bolstered by the success of ‘Settler,’ together with the continuing support of Santa Cruz-based Need To Know Music, Dark Harvest is further evidence of a mature and assured musician very much at home in his own creative space.

While Settler featured superb contributions from long established names like Eliza Carthy, Gretchen Peters and Laura Cantrell, for Dark Harvest MacWatt had very specific qualities in mind.

“I was so invested in these songs that I considered every aspect to the point where I was writing and arranging songs for artists I hadn’t even approached yet”, he explains. “Had Angeline Morrison not agreed to sing on ‘Empire In Me’ I probably wouldn’t have recorded it. As I was putting the title track ‘Dark Harvest’ together I could hear Nathan Bell’s voice and guitar. For ‘Out On The Western Plain’ I wanted someone who could play the blues with all of Rory Gallagher’s fire and sensitivity and was blessed to work with Pat McManus. I’m so grateful to every single artist who gave of themselves for this project.”


01. Strong is the North Wind (3:05)
02. The Church & The Crown (4:16)
03. Red River Woman (3:44)
04. Empire in Me (feat. Angeline Morrison) (4:32)
05. Dark Harvest (feat. Nathan Bell) (3:55)
06. Out on the Western Plain (feat. Pat MacManus) (3:09)
07. Brave David Tyrie (4:32)
08. The Nightjar’s Fall From Grace (4:46)
09. Buffalo Thunder (4:16)
10. She Told Me Not to Go (4:19)
11. Heather and Honey (4:40)
12. The Last Bowman (8:08)
13. Drowsy Maggie (3:34)
14. Semi Scotsman (3:07)