John McLellan, Dunoon, Anniversary/ New John Dew Recording

Thanks for covering my Tribute website to P/M John McLellan DCM previously, writes Duncan MacGregor.

As we are fast approaching two important dates on P/M McLellan’s calendar I thought I should let you know.

July 31 [today] marks the 72nd year of Jock’s passing, and August 8, 2021, will be the anniversary of Jock’s birth in 1875.

This picture of John McLellan DCM from the Anglo Boer War was only discovered very recently:

I plan to commemorate that date by compiling a new Tribute Playlist to Jock on Spotify. I’ve already compiled a number of Spotify playlists which feature his songs and tunes from pipe bands, solo pipers, ceilidh bands and Scottish folk groups.

In fact there is a wealth of P/M John McLellan DCM compositions on the website, and on YouTube too. Here is Stuart Liddell: 

  • Much more on John McLellan in our Famous Pipers series here. Check out our story on his classic 2/4 march Southall here.

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Publicist Corrie Campbell: Please see attached and copied below information on the debut album from young piper and composer John Dew.  

Mackerel Sky is set for release on Friday 27 August and showcases John’s talents on bagpipes and whistles with a mixture of impressive traditional tunes.

John, who is from Crieff in Perthshire, is a keen competitive piper who graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a First-Class Honours last year. He has won various piping competitions throughout Scotland including the Open Piobaireachd at Aboyne Highland Games, the Kemble Star for Marches at the Skye Gathering and the Piobaireachd Event at the Royal National MOD in 2019, where he was crowned the MOD Champion Piper.

The young piper also plays with Inveraray and District Pipe Band, who won the World Pipe Band Championships in 2017 and 2019. He continues to play in the band as they prepare for their pre-Worlds concert in 2022.

Mackerel Sky was recorded during the spring of 2021 and features John on bagpipes and whistles, Dylan Cairns on guitar and Eoghainn Beaton on bodhrán.

The album, which is largely self-composed, solidifies John’s distinct sound and follows on from his EP The High Bridge Walk, released in September 2020. He also released his first tunebook Pipe Tunes in December 2020.

John Dew

John said: ‘The inspiration behind the album was the idea of layering multiple bagpipes and whistle parts and exploring the concept of polyphony underneath traditional and neo-traditional tunes. 

‘My main inspiration for the title track was the mackerel sky clouds in Scotland – the tune depicts the build-up of the layering of the clouds and then the rainfall. This sort of tension and release was something I wanted to mimic in the music of the album through polyphonic textures – though there are a few simple tune sets as well. I love polyphony and harmony and wanted to explore writing in that style for bagpipes.’

John will be performing tracks from the album in his home town at Crieff Folk Club on Wednesday, 24 November.

Mackerel Sky will be available to buy on CD, stream and download on all digital platforms, on Friday 27 August. For more information and to pre-order visit:

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