Scottish songwriter Malcolm MacWatt redresses the austerity of previous solo acoustic productions with a classic rock soundscape on his third studio album.
“Dial It Back” fuses contemporary songwriting with a wash of mid-70s sonic. It’s not a tribute to the past, more a celebration of a time when rock music was happy to embrace harmony and melody without any sense of irony. The album title reflects the vintage vibe but is mainly about making a conscious decision to relax, sit back, jam and just let the songs breathe easy.
To get the feel of one band performing all of the songs in one session, engineer and producer Phil Dearing at L-Sound Studio, insisted on using the same guitars,the same Fender amps, Hammond, Rhodes and the same rhythm section set-up for every song.
With two very positively received acoustic albums under his belt it was tempting to keep to unplugged paths, however, while the country & americana influences are still evident on the album MacWatt was keen to dive headfirst into the bigger ocean of mainstream rock he grew up with.
“I first seriously picked up the guitar in 1975 so that era has always been a huge influence on me, whether it was pop, rock, country or soul. We just imagined Gram Parsons, Keith, Ron & Charlie, Duane & Eric, Nicky Hopkins and Ron Blair getting off their faces and jamming together.”
It’s digitally recorded of course but a selection of plugins of famous desks and classic mic preamps were used for added mojo with the final mix running through an official Abbey Road Studios mastering plugin.
Malcolm MacWatt had already gained national press recognition for his powerful song-writing. As a solo performer, swapping out his telecaster for an acoustic guitar, his story-telling comes to the fore with brutal clarity and his acoustic albums “Anywhere But Here” and “Three Truths and The Chord” have received glowing reviews . For his third studio release Dial It Back he turns the electricity back on to explore his 70s rock roots. Hailing from Moray, in the North-east of Scotland, he has worked on the North Sea offshore oil platforms, as a newspaper journalist, in education and now lives in London.