Review: SKAIL (EP) - Malcolm MacWatt


By now, if you haven’t heard of Malcolm MacWatt, you need to stop what you are doing, open your phone and search his name. You will not be disappointed!

Normally, when an artist releases an album or an EP, they would wait a couple months or a year to let the music circulate and gain traction but Malcolm is a highly talented singer, songwriter and musician and you will be glad to hear he is releasing his new EP SKAIL with three brand new tracks!

Malcolm really is a jack of all trades when it comes to the music business. He is highly skilled on the guitar, banjo, resonators, fiddle, basically if it makes a sound you know he will be awesome!

Throughout this EP, Malcolm takes us through the troubled journeys between his native land of Scotland to the Appalachian trails from Georgia up to Maine. He has described stumbling upon an article describing the trails and how they actually link to the Highlands of Scotland after millions of years of continental drift, mixed with the feelings of longing for fresh air, clean water and familiar faces after being locked up in his in south-east London during the Covid-19 pandemic and the tragic narratives regarding UK immigration. He has taken these images and worked his magic and as a wonderful result, we have three wonderful songs, although they are dark and emotional in tone.

Track 1) The Widow and The Cruel Sea

The first song on this wonderful EP really throws you into the folky sounds of Malcolm starting with a delightful acoustic riff continuously played throughout the song and a mixture of a banjo and fiddle riffs and licks throughout Malcolm tells the story of a woman who is waiting for her husband to come back from his day fishing but there he is missing at sea. The now widow is looking to start a new life in a ‘New World across the sea’ she plants her roots in America.

Track 2) Old World Rules and Empire Takes

The second song on Malcolms new EP ‘SKAIL’ starts with a wonderful range of instruments with his distinctive roll on his Banjo. Malcolm tells the story of the British Empire battling on the Eastern seaboard of the USA. He talks of the Battle of Kings Mountain which was one of the critical battles during the War of Independence in which the Americans fought for control over the British for Independence. He, however describes how even though the Crowns forces were led by Major Patrick Ferguson, who hailed from Aberdeenshire, a large portion of the settlers fighting for independence would have had ties or would have also hailed from Scotland. ‘For I live free on the western side, I’ve killed white and I’ve killed red, to live at home in my Tennessee bed’ and finishing the song with “Scottish blood in American Clay”

Track 3) The Crofter and The Cherokee

Starting with his resonator and wonderful banjo rolls, Malcolm describes standing in Georgia looking out East towards the sea to Scotland. Similar to the first track, its relating to the Appalachian trails from Georgia up to Maine which once used to connect to the Scottish Highlands millions of years ago. This song has a dark haunting feel to it, more so than the previous two tracks but I feel this one really embraces the connection between the US and Scotland. Malcolm has also described that through this song, the fiddle motif represents Scotland and the banjo and resonator sounding off for America. Throughout the song there are varying levels of each instrument which further highlights the connection between the now separated lands of America and Scotland.

Throughout this whole EP, Malcolm further showcases his wonderful musical abilities and proves that even in lockdown, nothing will stop him from making amazing music! It is more towards the hardcore Americana/American Folk scene but that does not take away how much I love this EP!


SKAIL will be available to buy or stream from the 4th of July which is very fitting considering the nature of this EP. Very clever scheduling!

Also make sure to follow Malcolm on his socials:


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