If there is one song that virtually anybody can identify as having been performed by Nova Scotia’s Anne Murray, it would be the Gene MacLellan-penned track Snowbird. Arguably one of Murray’s biggest hits of her storied career, the MacLellan name carries much weight, not only here in Atlantic Canada but throughout the world. And though Gene MacLellan is unfortunately no longer with us, the songwriting legacy of the MacLellan is being more than capably handled by his daughter Catherine.
With the release of her fourth record, Silhouette, MacLellan’s warm voice and knack for penning memorable songs rooted in the folk and roots world, showing that the apple indeed does not fall far from the tree.
Catherine MacLellan will be performing at the Moncton Press Club this evening.
From her home in Prince Edward Island, MacLellan admits that her father’s influence continues to work its way into her music.
“My father was the biggest influence upon me as far as having music in my life all the time went,” MacLellan says. “I had expressed an interest in learning the guitar and he did try to teach me as far as learning the technical side of playing the instrument goes. But perhaps even more importantly, I was listening to terrible pop music as a kid and my Dad eventually managed to infiltrate my musical tastes, slipping me cassettes of the Beatles and The Band to listen to.”
When MacLellan eventually chose to steer her career in the direction of music, her decision wasn’t exactly a shock to anybody. She started writing songs when she was 14 years old and helped her voice be found by playing various open mic nights. As her name started getting known however, she became concerned that being Gene’s daughter would overshadow her own achievements and was actually reluctant to be connected to her father in any way, shape or form.
“Early on, I never played any of his songs because I didn’t want to have that connection; I wanted to stand on my own. Admittedly, it took a little while to get there but am now in a place that I am very comfortable with who I am and where I am in my own career.”
MacLellan’s comfort with her family name is evident on Silhouette, where she delivers a stunning version of her father’s song Snowbird but as a duet with Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy singing along side of her. In the past, MacLellan has typically had a song about her father on her each of her records however Silhouette marks the first time that she has performed one of her father’s songs on record.
“This was going to be the first record that I didn’t write a song about my father so including Snowbird was a way to keep him connected to my work,” she says.
And though Silhouette has only been on the market since July 2011, MacLellan is already tossing around ideas for her next record. Over her past two records, MacLellan has successfully expanded her sound to include a full-band but as of the present time, she believes her next album will return her to a more intimate sound.
“For my next album, I am going to return to the feeling of my first couple of records, a more intimate, minimal type of feeling. I have done a couple of band records now and think I’m ready to make a quiet record again.”