SKAIL

by Malcolm MacWatt

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1.
I’m standing here in Dalton, Georgia Looking back and looking east I know there’s a big wide ocean With the Blue Ridge Mountains between My family roots run back to Scotland Poor and hungry looking west They sailed across the sea to Portland And drifted south on another quest Red mud of Georgia in my veins Blood of the red man runs there too Reservations …… relocations The lies of the red white and blue ​CH: The crofter and the Cherokee Pushed out forced down on their knees The clearances and the Trail of Tears The crofter and the Cherokee ​Burns said “a man’s a man for a’ that” This state had ideals just the same To treat all men fair and equal and a’ that I hope someday we will again A man who’s suffered to extreme ends All too soon forgets his pain He’ll justify profit by all means He’ll keep a slave for his own gain The Appalachian Trail is waiting From Georgia up the coast to Maine 2000 miles of wild walking To retrace my steps home again
2.
The boat comes in and she’s sitting low They’ve had a good day’s fishing with a catch to show But something’s wrong I can clearly see Two fishermen when there should be three Oh please god let it not be me A widow made by the cruel sea At last the oars touch the sand I run up looking for my man But all my fears were realised They said a big sea pulled him ow’r the side We’re heartfelt sorry for your loss He was a fine young man as ever was ​CH: I wish that I could leave this place Break free of my widow’s chains In the new world across the sea An American I’d like to be ​But I’ve one bairn he’s just one year And a woman can’t do what she wants round here My dead man’s brother holds the key To what life has in store for me When the men would talk I’d hear him say How he would leave if he could one day So I became a brother’s wife I can’t complain for he treats me right I know his heart he knows my mind And he’s promised we will leave in time And I use the gifts that god gave me To keep him sweet as a man can be ​Two years on and we crossed that sea Where I lost my boy to a malady We settled here in Portland Maine And soon I’ll have a child again Scotland is from where we came But now we’re all Americans ​CH: I wished that I could leave that place I broke free of my widow’s chains In the new world across the sea An American I will always be
3.
I soldiered for John Company I killed for them and they paid me A Highlander ‘neath a British flag I served my time then packed my bags ​The Appalachians marked the line Where I lived free on the western side I’ve killed white and I've killed red To sleep at home in my Tennessee bed CH: From the icy north of the Hudson Bay To the southern shores of the Everglades Peaks and valleys, fields and lakes Where Old World rules and empire takes ​I took oaths to king and queen Promises I could not keep For tyrant crown I do not stand Now I’m an Overmountain Man ​So when Ferguson marched his men I joined and rode with Shelby then In Carolina we fought and died Loyalty on either side ​My musket ball was one of seven To claim the life of Ferguson In Caroline we fought and died The Battle of Kings Mountainside
4.
Song Notes 02:43

about

SKAIL - an old Scots word meaning to disperse, scatter and sail over water - sees MacWatt weaving traditional Scottish yarn into the fabric of Americana for his third 2020 studio release.
The EP features three songs with the Appalachians, evictions, slavery and independence at their heart and is a meeting of Scottish and American roots music with MacWatt playing all instruments throughout.
Written and recorded at the height of the coronavirus lockdown from his home in south-east London, MacWatt found himself longing for the fresh air, clean water, open spaces, familiar faces and above all the safety of Morayshire where he grew up.
During the weeks of isolation he happened across an article about the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia up the east coast of America to Maine, which now includes the Scottish Highlands due to ancient geological links going back millions of years.
Coming from the Moray Firth with the northern mountains of the Black Isle an everyday skyline, the stories of the Highland Clearances were already well known to him but in the context of a pandemic, together with the tragic narratives surrounding UK immigration, he felt compelled to explore the connections between Scottish emigration to the New World in the 18th Century and the roots of country and americana music.

credits

released July 4, 2020

Mixed & Mastered by Phil Dearing at L Sound Studio London

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Malcolm MacWatt London, UK

Malcolm MacWatt has already gained international recognition for his powerful songwriting and as a solo performer his story-telling comes to the fore, sometimes with brutal clarity.

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