Manchester based singer-songwriter Kirk McElhinney releases new album ‘You Are Not Your Past’
Rochdale born, now Manchester UK based, singer-songwriter Kirk McElhinney is renowned for his soulful voice, insightful lyrics and conveying inspiring messages of hope and positivity in both his recorded music and live performances. His music combines a rich and vibrant mosaic of acoustic guitar picking that is both unique and enticing. His concerts are unique: mostly down to his free-spirited jamming style and a visceral raw energy that captivates his audiences. His highly anticipated second album ‘You Are Not Your Past’ channels all his infectious live energy and, importantly, his rich and significant life experience to date. The album is released on 4th June 2021.
When Kirk turned thirteen, his uncle gifted him a basic 3 string guitar and his musical odyssey began in earnest. Early 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 flamenco jazz genius Paco Da Lucia. His switch to acoustic guitar came when he met, and was hugely inspired by, Scottish folk and guitar legend Bert Jansch. The die was well and truly cast! Kirk admits : “I spent hours, days, months, years learning his stuff and trying to master his craftsmanship, and still am.” Since then, music has taken Kirk all over the world; to India, Australia and Europe and beyond; even supporting his hero Jansch on UK dates. Not only that, a collaboration with internationally renowned musician, producer and composer, Nitin Sawhney, led to Kirk forming The Safires, who released one album (‘Epic in the Ordinary’) .
His 2014 debut solo album, ‘World Gone Blind’ unfortunately marked a bad time for Kirk. His poor health forced him to revise his lifestyle completely and become teetotal. His recovery from what was a difficult and challenging time was poured wholeheartedly into his new album ‘You Are Not Your Past’, as he says: “I poured my all into this album, it’s been a real labour of love but also been a real therapy for me. I find song-writing a great way of getting the inside out and untangling all 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 metaphorical ‘uprising’ of sorts, with a message of hope and of ‘elevating’ our life’s mission. It shows us how we can ALL make our world better by joining in solidarity and common purpose and exchanging ideas openheartedly, free from judgement of one another. By discarding the negatives, we can create a fresh, bright future for humanity. Kirk says: “The title came about because I feel like too many people are stuck in their past and don’t know how to move on from it, almost like they don’t feel like they’re allowed to move on. I think the world would be a better place for all of us if we didn’t all hold so tightly onto our past.”
Musically, the album is a real mix of styles with influences from his childhood heroes from Stevie Wonder to Bert Jansch, from the Rolling Stones to Paco de Lucia. Kirk acknowledges he was truly blessed to have worked with all the incredible musicians who collaborated with him on this album, or as he freely calls them “the cream of the Manchester crop!” John Ellis (Cinematic Orchestra, Corrine Bailey Rae), Kirk says is “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 (Queen and Adam Lambert). Expect themes of populist politics, love, calls for unity, letting go of the past, mindfulness, hope and finding peace. ‘You Are Not Your Past’ is a broad canvas and will evoke 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.”
ALBUM TRACK LISTING:
Love Will Find A Way
Shelter From The Rain
Sleep Within a Dream
Get It On
Hold on To Hope
In The End