Calder at The Red Tent

19th August 2016

Calder McLaughlin

an appreciation

The Soundhouse. Tonight the stage is set for only one artist. A singer and songwriter that I have seen many times before and who is here to celebrate ten years of being a working musician.

Calder McLaughlin opened tonight’s show with an acoustic set that featured his own songs. Singing with that characteristic voice of his, he reminded everyone just what an amazing singer he is. A voice that is strongly powerful with a rough-edge timbre he delivered a delightful set of numbers, enriched by his guitar playing.

Calder is an artist with a consider back-catalogue; one which has enthralled many people over a long period of time. In the second half, Calder was joined by three musicians for the full band set. Calder sings with full-on passion, making the music surge from the stage. Moments of delicacy and atmosphere contrasting with wonderfully lively and upbeat passages that rocked the house.  So, for just five pounds we were given the kind of music that some people would have paid ten times for at a stadium event.

For me it was a rewarding experience; not just in itself but because I could relate back to the times when I have seen Calder before and marvelled at the quality of his artistry.

Looking back, from the pages of Arts in Leicester magazine:

Escape Artists

A three-piece Rock band in Leicestershire formed by singer Calder McLaughlin. Now defunct, Calder has formed another band. [From the bands listing]

Friday 3rd September 2010.
Calder McLaughlin. On stage tonight, Leicester singer Calder, with an accompanying guitar player. His big sultry voice was full of smoky colour, a voice with range and solidity. His ear-pleasing songs were sung beautifully. A singer with presence and charisma. He has a new album coming out soon. A warmly pleasurable start to the night. Calder is one of the best male vocalists in Leicester.

January 27 – Finale night of OBS Unplugged with 10 acts on stage at the Musician, including Kieran Hebden, Elizabeth Cornish, Martin Brown, The DayDream Club, Davenport Folk, Humble He and Calder McLaughlin, rounded off with the Joel Owen Band.

7th January 2011 –  Calder McLaughlin. Calder sets the bar for male vocalists. His work has professionalism and quality. His fine voice is full of colour and character. His songs are folk rock with a dash of Americana. Tonight he performed with Tom who played electric guitar backing Calder’s acoustic instrument.

Cald at Summer Sundae in 2011
Cald at Summer Sundae in 2011

Sunday 14th August 2011.
Sunday at Summer Sundae.
Once again, the Musician stage opened up before the other stages and gave music lovers an early chance to grab a coffee and hear  some really great performances. Singer Calder McLaughlin, assisted by Benn Hartman, gave us an invigorating start to the musical feast of Sunday. Calder’s strong, slightly rough edged voice always makes me think ‘Leicester’s answer to Bruce Springsteen’, but don’t tell Calder I said so as he might not be happy about that! For a lot of us Calder is much better than the old time American crooner. Since he came to Leicester a few years ago now from his native Yorkshire home, the busy Calder has been entertaining audiences with his engaging songs and vibrant performances. Always a very great pleasure to listen to and one of Leicester’s most likeable musical characters. “A brilliant artist”, Adam told us.

Calder McLaughlin's new album: Songs for Sunday Brunch, 2014
Calder McLaughlin’s new album:
Songs for Sunday Brunch, 2014

See our review of Calder’s Songs for Sunday brunch, in 2014.

Chapters and phases – Calder McLaughlan record review.

Calder’s latest album of 12 tracks is a sheer delight. His rich, sumptuous voice brings the songs alive and the recording quality does real justice to his marvellous artistry. His voice has an appealing range of textures, from delightful delicacy through to gravelly gravitas. The articulation is crystal clear and the songs are not over produced, allowing the colours and shades of his vocals and guitar playing to come though. Amazing! Considering the tracks were recorded in Dean Sharman’s bedroom! There is a bit of a change in sound  between the first seven tracks and My Saviour, which sounds distinctly different. That’s a small point however in a finely crafted set like this. Calder is one of the best song writers in our locality if not in the Midlands. These totally ear-pleasing songs are instantly likeable and require several re-plays to really enjoy them. All of the songs have a compelling anthemic quality to them. I particularly liked Lights Across The Liffey, where he demonstrates the power and range of his amazing voice. I should also say that Calder’s live performances are as enjoyable as his recorded work. I saw him perform a couple of days ago at The Red Tent in Pocklington’s walk. I took this rather awful photo; I thought I would slip it in any anyway. Calder always pours megawatts of commitment into his live performances. His face continually moving from grimaces to frowns as he works through the lyrics. It’s powerful stuff. Oh and he knows how to use a mic correctly. I highly recommend this album to all lovers of top quality acoustic music. Released 16th November 2011. All songs written by C. McLaughlin. Produced by C. McLaughlin and Dean J Sharman. Engineered by  Dean J Sharman. Mixed and Mastered by Dean J Sharman. Lead Guitar and Atmospherics on all tracks by Benn Hartmann.
[Arts in Leicestershire Magazine, Record Review page]

17th February 2012

The Musician

Calder Mclaughlin performing at the Musician pub during the obs finale in 2013
Calder Mclaughlin performing at the Musician pub during the obs finale in 2013

Another act I have followed, almost since the word go, is Calder McLaughlan. Tonight he was on stage with his band. One face on the stage I immediately recognised was Benn Hartmann; Dan monk was on bass and Josh Bugden was on drums. Calder has one of those voices that are instantly recognisable, with its gravelly texture and amazing strength. He demonstrated tonight that he is not only a master of the moody ballad but also of the resonating rhythm. His hour and half long set was a tour de force of his extensive back catalogue of original songs. He is one singer that I have followed since he arrived in Leicester from his native Doncaster. He is a pro level singer. One of the more distinguished songwriters around this area. Now with a group of skilled musos on stage with him I can see him going far. Very far. Calder has a presence when he is in front a mic that few others can equal. His songs have a popular appeal, as we saw from the reaction of the audience he had attracted tonight. A thoroughly enjoyable night of top class music. So, those who like to winge and whine about Leicester’s live music scene not being very good … all I can say is “You must be going to the wrong gigs.”

Friday 9th March 2012.
The Shed. OBS heat 1.
The Hot Frolics, Calder McLaughlin Band, Refuge, The Decade Runners, The Agonal Trace
Trevor Locke reports

Calder at The Shed
Calder at The Shed

Calder McLaughlin Band.
Having seen Calder McLaughlin on stage with his new band just recently, I’ll try not to repeat what I have already said, although I would recommend readers to check the previous review. There is no doubting that Calder is a very fine singer, songwriter. Backed now by three able musicians, his music has come to its peak, with some of the songs being played tonight, having started life as solo productions. Playing original songs by Calder, the set was thoroughly enjoyable. The strengths of this set were Calder’s amazing vocals and the polished backing of three quality musicians. When we listen to bands we sometimes wait for an outstanding song, a potential hit that make us really stand up and listen. As much as I enjoyed all the tunes they played their last song had the most resonance with me. Ear pleasing vocals backed by deliciously attractive guitar lines, it was an excellent set, delivered with passion and vibrancy.

22nd December 2012

Calder McLaughlin at the Soundhouse.
Singer, songwriter Calder McLaughlin was on stage at the Soundhouse with his band tonight.
[Arts in Leicestershire Magazine, Music Section, gigs diary]


See also:

Our round-up of live music in August.

Our feature article on Dreaming in Colour Productions.

Keith Jobey at the Summer Art Trail.

About The Editor 535 Articles
The Editor of Music in Leicester magazine is Kevin Gaughan assisted by Trevor Locke