Local Music: Lewis McLaughlin – Rollin’ On EP ★★★★ (Review and Interview)

Glastonbury Emerging Talent winner Lewis McLaughlin Lewis McLaughlin via Facebook

By Gemma Murphy (she/her)

Cosy autumn nights have arrived, and so too has the perfect soundtrack for this month of October. 

Edinburgh-born Glasgow-based musician Lewis McLaughlin returns with his new EP, Rollin’ On.

The EP, consisting of three songs, sung in Lewis’ warm voice, will have you ready to sit down by the fire with your book or cuddle up beside your significant other.

The 21-year-old creates a raw and dynamic feel to this EP with his stripped-back songs. Each song has only a maximum of four instruments making a truly intimate listen, as if he is singing just to you. 

‘Rollin On’ is a reminder to us all to feel the path we’re on and acknowledge the difficulty along it. The chime-like guitar, upbeat drums and the building tempo create an extremely romantic feel to this song. The song concluding with just a whistle creates an almost homely feel, calling you back, back to the start of the track to listen to it all over again. This song acts as a warm, reassuring hug, reminding us that everything is going to be okay. 

Talking about what inspired the song, Lewis said: “It’s just a feeling and it’s one that I had been chipping away at for ages. It’s just that idea to keep on keeping on.”

Lewis has been compared to the likes of Paolo Nutini and deservedly so. The charm of his Scottish accent shines through, similar to Paolo’s but with a more indie folk slant similar to that of Mumford and Sons. His storytelling style is reminiscent of Phoebe Bridgers and her ability to provide more than just music but a lesson. 

The singer told me: “I grew up listening to Paolo when I was younger and he’s definitely had a massive influence on my music and my sound, for sure.”

Lewis says he has been inspired by the likes of The Villagers, an Irish folk band and this is easy to be seen. The young talent’s music would fit right in at Temple Bar.

The other two tracks are from Lewis’s most recent debut album, Feel the Ground You Walk Upon, but have been remastered to match the intimate and homely vibe of this EP.

The decision for this was that: “We wanted to see where else we could take the same songs. So hopefully, some people that already know the songs from my album can hear them in a bit of a different light.”

Summer (Acoustic) is a fabulous stripped-back campfire-esque version. The angelic harmonies and soft, earthy rhythm create a vibe that makes you want to frolic in the woods. 

The original version was described as “the anthem we’ve been waiting for” by BBC Scotland.

‘You Tell Me’ (Alternative Version) is a very gentle song. Lewis’ tender vocals turn this song into a lullaby that left me in quite a contemplative, reflective mindset. Lewis’ music seems to make us think just as much as it does sing.

In May, Lewis also won the 2022 Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition. The musician added: “It was totally mental. So unexpected and I was in a state of shock for probably like a month afterwards. But it was just a total dream come true.”

The EP will be released on Oct 12, and his majestic music can be heard live on one of these nights:

Oct 21 – St Monan’s – Futtle
Oct 23 – Edinburgh, Voodoo Rooms
Oct 25 – Braemar – Village Hall
Oct 26 – Aberdeen – Cafe Drummonds
Oct 28 – Kyle – Skye Bridge Studios
Nov 11- Glasgow – Great Western Festival