Linda McLean
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Linda McLean

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"Well Kept Secret"

Rock N Reel, September/October 2007

LINDA MCLEAN
****
No Language
(Bongo Beat Records)

Canadian singer-songwriter Linda McLean is a relatively well-kept secret among American fans thought this is about to change with the release of her second album, No Language. At the core of her musical success lies her astounding song writing ability. She possesses a rare gift for evocative phrase making, a fine attention to lyrical detail, and themes that are as universal as the air around us and timely as the morning paper.
Where so many songwriters struggle with gaining the confidence as well as learning the craft of writing in their early years, McLean has taken to it like a duck to water. At school she studied English literature and poetry and grew up to the sounds of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Listening to classical music such as Bach and Mahler also proved enlightening and it’s all finally come together with No Language.

Colin Palmer
- Rock N Reel, UK


"Robust Roots Revivalism"

Canadian artist McLean treads a similar path to Kathleen Edwards in that she makes roots orientated rock music with her husband Andy, who co-writes the music and plays the guitars. McLean writes the words and sings in a strong, gritty voice that delivers these songs of displacement, relationships and the inevitability of change. The four piece band offer some robust roots revivalism. Guitar, bass, drums and keyboards all emphasizing the core emotions that underpin these songs. The album, as a whole feels good and delivers the kind of strong statement of intent that you don't often recognize on a first acquaintance. McLean is continuing a tradition of strong female music exponents rather than inventing or delivering anything new, but she does it with a sense of genuine emotion that it transcends any language. - Nettwerk Records UK


"Tender Mercies of Linda McLean"

As the hooky riffs and catchy melodies of Love Nor Money introduce Canadian Linda Mclean's second album, No Language, all seems perfectly clear. The country rock supplied by her husband Andy, dovetails neatly with a slightly tousled and defiant voice to produce the kind of songs which will make her the darling of a more mature (i.e. older) audience. And, while female country rock is a crowded market, No Language is robust enough to make its own way in the world. But Canada appears to concentrate on quality rather than quantity where its musicians are concerned and their music is never quite as straightforward as that of their American cousins. So while Linda McLean can mix it with the best, radio friendly rock is just one facet in the diamond of a major talent.
Michael Mees - Hawick News, UK


"Indie Masterpiece"

Once in a great while, out of the blue, comes an indie masterpiece. Such is the case of Linda McLean. This is the Canadian’s second album and it contains the accessible folk-pop blend that garnered her a wide audience on her BETTY’S ROOM debut, but also steps out, adding some rootsy rock touches that could broaden her fan base. Produced by roots veteran John Whynot, who has worked with the likes of Kathleen Edwards, Lucinda Williams, Bruce Cockburn, Blue Rodeo, in the past, this album scores with memorable hooks. The songs are mainly the work of Linda and her partner Andy McLean (who also plays guitars and mandolin). She opens with the infectious Love Nor Money, which insinuates the mind in a pleasant way with just one listen. There’s another compelling hook on How Strong Is Your Sorrow with powerful harmonies on the chorus.

Though the songs have instantly memorable melodies and infectious choruses, the lyrics are all well-written creating word pictures of the trials and tribulations of every day life. Calling is a deeply-thought song that you will find yourself returning to again and again. With its Police guitar figures on the verses and shuffle groove on the chorus, Amsterdam Canals suggests an alternate path for the inevitable blending of traditional country, folk and 1980s pop. This is a record full of impeccable songwriting, inventive musical arrangements and great, sensitive vocal work. One not to be missed.
Allan Cackett - Maverick Magazine


Discography

Green(working title) 2008
2005: No Language *(Bongo Beat; Outside Distribution in Canada, Burnside Distribution in US and Pinnacle/Nettwerk Distribution in UK)
2003: Betty's Room (Rounder/CRS; Europe) (Mandolin Records; Canada & US)
2001: Beauty (Independent, P&C Mandolin Songs)

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Bio

Linda McLean lives in the forests of Northern Ontario writing taut songs full of fire and emotion not easily forgotten. NO LANGUAGE (BongoBeat) is her second CD (the first released in Canada) and the strong follow up to her critically acclaimed debut BETTY'S ROOM (2003,RounderEurope). NO LANGUAGE offers continued evidence of prolific and finely crafted songwriting skills. Amidst comparisons to Joni Mitchell and Fiona Apple, critics have ranked McLean among the best of her Canadian contemporaries; "There is a 'holy trinity' of Canadian singer songwriters, Sarah Harmer,Kathleen Edwards and Linda McLean." (CBC Radio) “Her material straddles the line between roots stylings and an adult contemporary-tinged sound à la Jann Arden or Sarah McLachlan...lyrics are gently introspective and reflective, and they possess the ring of hard-earned truths, rather than the facile musings of so many of her younger peers.”(Exclaim Magazine)”Not as rough around the edges as LucindaWilliams and not as smooth as Jann Arden, McLean's work displays those influences but her voice garners comparisons to Edwards and Lynn Miles with an occasional hint of Jane Siberry. If you are a fan of any of the aforementioned artists you can add a new favourite in Linda McLean.” ( Winnipeg Free Press) www.lindamclean.com