Exposure: Mark McAnaw

Exposure: Mark McAnaw

Scotland’s notoriously vibrant folk scene has always bred a conveyor belt of talented musicians willing to strip back to their Celtic roots, and Wishaw acoustic songster Mark McAnaw is gaining notoriety for his adept playing and contemplative vocals.

Citing influences such as John Lennon, Richard Thomson and the recently deceased John Martyn, McAnaw has plied his trade for a number of years, playing in any venue that would accommodate his vocation, but only in recent times has his unique blend of country, folk and blues gained a wider audience. From the moment he lifted a guitar at the age of 12, it has barely left his hands since.

A sparkling songwriter, McAnaw paints pictures better than any artist and his hypnotically incessant plucking commands an audience. Songs such as The Muse (which recently appeared on a charity compilation for St. Andrews Hospice) and One Step Forward, Two Steps Back encapsulate his melodious vision and showcase his unique poetic style. Despite emanating from a distinctly folk background, which comes to the fore in his music, McAnaw also embraces other genres with equal gusto, which allows him a more diverse collection of influences than some of his contemporaries.

However, it's by travelling to folk festivals from a very young age that he has studied different techniques and truly honed his craft. Since then, he has become a live favourite in his own right, appearing at the likes of Perthshire Amber festival and the Girvan folk festival in the past 12 months, and gathering a number of admirers in the process.

These performances have led to radio slots on Heartland FM and also on Celtic Music, which have helped raise McAnaw’s profile. He has also recently performed at Glasgow venues Cosmopol and The Butterfly & Pig in recent months, with a view to the latter becoming a permanent residency, which should allow his music to reach a wider audience on a more regular basis.

Away from the stage, he gives the impression of a bashful, unapologetically reserved individual, but he never appears more composed and at ease than when positioned behind his trusty acoustic guitar. As comfortable a performer you can wish to find, his voice soars and sways with melancholy but he remains calm, contented, and at home on stage throughout.

Next up for Mark are gigs in April at Linen 1906 and at McSorley’s in association with OXJAM, both of which are in Glasgow, and he's also secured a slot at the Lomond Folk Festival in July. In conjunction with his own solo pursuits he also lends his name to Lanarkshire Songwriters, a talented band of musicians who do exactly as their name suggests, and his work can also be found as part of another local initiative, the Dead Lovers Project, which actively searches for new artists in the local area.

Mark McAnaw plays at Cosmopol, Glasgow Wed 25 Mar.



1. Tina (ayr)28 Mar 2009, 7:46pm Report

Mark is a very talented young man and deserves to go places.... He works hard with his music and does very well with his own or traditional. His manners with people of all ages and background are to be admired. A young man to be proud to know.. Success, love n hugs always from your friend Tina xox

2. Fiona from Rudeigin28 Mar 2009, 8:57pm Report

Mark and his pasta often arrive at camp sites at festivals. He's always great fun and has come on so well these past few years. For someone so young he is very focused and dedicated to his trade. He's writing his own material and performing at prestigious events these days. Make a point of checking out his Myspace, He brought the idea of a Woody Guthrie night to the Lanarkshire Songwriters who have now performed it at Cumbernauld Theatre, Stionehouse Folk Club, Clydesdale Folk Club, the Star Folk Club and later this year at East Kilbride Arts Centre. Folk music needs more Mark McAnaws.
All the best this year Mark. F x

3. Ross @ Celtic Music Radio 1530AM28 Mar 2009, 9:04pm Report

What a great write up on a great talent!

It was great having Mark in for a session earlier this year and I wish him all the best in his "career"!

4. Louise_Burnett29 Mar 2009, 3:24pm Report

I found Mark on MySpace and absolutely loved his music, what a talent! Totally refreshing and inspiring. Can't wait to see him play at MacSorley's - will be a fantastic night. The crowd are going to love him for sure.
Hope 2009 will be an incredible year for you, you deserve it!
Louise x

5. Mary Kathleen Burke @ Celtic Music Radio30 Mar 2009, 3:25am Report

Mark this is great:) ! I am made up for you ,you deserve to be givien some recognition, you certainly made a big impression on me at The Butterfly Strategy in The Butterfly and Pig in Glasgow and after the first song I was hooked your giutar playing was superb and it was very abvious to me that John Martyn (rip) had certainly been one of your influences .The versitility and diversity of your set was spectacular and the audience by the third song were so into what you were doing .
most acts I listen too it becomes apparant after three songs that that is the jist of their sound. With you it ,was different and thats what I loved about you. Your own songs ,the covers especially "we cannie get our grannie of the drugs "which had everyone doubled up with laughter your trad folk sound was so beautiful you are a very talented writer and true musician ,no pretentiouness here ,No Ego just a young man with a great gift which he shares with his audience with gusto and passion . I am delighted you have agreed to be my guest on the show next week Mark to play live in the studio . All you need is luck you have every thing else it takes Good luck .Mary

6. Martin J Clova31 Mar 2009, 3:20pm Report

Nice tunes Mark and poetry for lyrics. Good mix.

7. Dr Matthew Hughes31 Mar 2009, 10:58pm Report

Marky has real talent and keeps getting better and better. Keep up the good work! I'm sure you will!


8. reanna31 Mar 2009, 11:32pm Report

see you, ye can dae anything, hardly!!! Great review gets ye doon tae a t. Good effort macanaw, yer music is great, nae heard the muse yet tho (He he). Well done and keep it up, and dinnae forget yer pals in the north. Take care ooooooe ride me high. Love n hugs Reanna xx

9. target 1331 Mar 2009, 11:47pm Report

the hings ah dae fir ye. macanaw is a man who's high on life but low on income, but he's certainly no short o talent. Every song has something tae say and something tae listen tae. recognition is another stone on his pyramid. adios companero.

10. Jacqui_F2 Apr 2009, 12:33pm Report

Hey Mark, how's things? Glad to see you're doing so well. You might be as big as his Bobness yet :) Anyhoo, any CDs on the go? I'm wantin an album!!! LOL Still got yer wee singal. Let me know when the next Aroma gig is, still no been in that place!!!

Jacqui xxx

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