Manchester-based folk and American-inspired singer-songwriter Kirk McElhinney releases new album
Born in Rochdale, now based in Manchester, UK, singer-songwriter Kirk McElhinney is renowned for his soulful voice, insightful lyrics and inspiring messages of hope and positivity in both his recorded music and his live performances.
His music combines a rich and vibrant mosaic of acoustic guitar picking that is both unique and alluring. His concerts are unique: mainly thanks to his free-spirited jamming style and raw visceral energy that captivates his audience. His highly anticipated second album “You are not your past” channels all of her contagious living energy and, most importantly, her rich and meaningful life experience to date.
When Kirk was thirteen, his uncle gave him a basic 3-string guitar and his musical odyssey began in earnest. The first musical inspirations were the greats: The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Hendrix, BB King, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Queen, ACDC, Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, closely followed by more eclectic influences such as John Martyn, Nick Drake and the flamenco jazz genius Paco Da Lucia.
His switch to acoustic guitar came when he first met, and was hugely inspired by Scottish folk and guitar legend Bert Jansch.
The dice were indeed cast! Kirk admits, “I spent hours, days, months, years learning his job and trying to master his craftsmanship, and I still am.”
Since then, the music has taken Kirk all over the world; to India, Australia and Europe and beyond; even supporting his hero Jansch on dates in the UK. Not only that, a collaboration with internationally renowned musician, producer and songwriter Nitin Sawhney led Kirk to form The Safires, which released an album (‘Epic in the ordinary ‘).
His first solo album of 2014, “The world has gone blind” unfortunately marked a bad time for Kirk. His poor health forced him to completely revise his lifestyle and become sober. Her recovery from what was a tough and difficult time poured wholeheartedly into her new album “You are not your past”, as he says, “I put everything into this album, it was a real labor of love but also a real therapy for me. I find songwriting a great way to get inside and sort out all of my thoughts. It’s a very honest album, lyrically and musically… ”
But don’t be fooled into thinking the album is dark and negative – far from it: “You are not your past” exudes positivity and encourages a kind of metaphorical “uplift”, with a message of hope and “uplifting” our life’s mission.
He shows us how we can ALL make our world a better place by uniting in solidarity and a common goal and exchanging open-hearted ideas, without judging each other. By rejecting the negatives, we can create a fresh and bright future for humanity.
Kirk says: “The title came because I feel like too many people are stuck in their past and don’t know how to get out of it, almost like they don’t feel like they can go on. I think the world would be a better place for all of us if we didn’t all hold on so tightly to our past.
Musically, the album is a real mix of styles with influences from his childhood heroes from Stevie Wonder to Bert Jansch, the Rolling Stones to Paco de Lucia.
Kirk admits that he was truly blessed to have worked with all the amazing musicians who collaborated with him on this album, or as he freely calls them. “the crème de la crème of Manchester!” John ellis (Cinematic Orchestra, Corrine Bailey Rae), Kirk says it’s “a musical genius, he’s like a cross between Yoda and Willy Wonka!” David McEwan (Nitin Sawhney, Plan B, Jeff Beck, Sting) mastered and helped produce the album and Neil Fairclough played bass (Reine and Adam Lambert).
Expect themes of populist politics, love, calls for unity, letting go of the past, mindfulness, hope, and the search for peace. ‘You are not your past ‘ is a wide canvas and will arouse many feelings in the listener. As Kirk says, “I think a song is like a painting, everyone will have different interpretations of it, and I like that, a song will always move and speak to people differently.”
“You are not your past” on Spotify.