DEBUT ALBUM FOR FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD SIGNED TO ALAN McGEE’S 359 RECORDS
“John is an amazing talent for such a young kid! To be honest, he’s just a natural!” - Alan McGee
“John is a real talent, I'd happily take him on tour with me in the future. The real deal." – Richard Hawley
“Who is this 15 year-old kid doing Dylan better than Dylan?” - Courtney Love
John Lennon McCullagh – his real name – is a fifteen-year-old from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, who has just recorded his debut album ‘North South Divide’, with Alan McGee producing, in just one day in Sheffield. The album was released on 14th October, 2013, and is the first release due out on Alan McGee’s new record label, 359 Music.
John has been playing guitar and writing his own songs since he was twelve. His latent talent for his beloved six-string was soon followed by mastery of the harmonica. Having returned with his family from several years in Australia to the UK in late 2012, John has been playing low profile shows this year in the Northeast. These included a support slot with former Housemartins / Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton at Sheffield’s Mosborough Music Festival in June.
“Music was always there,” remembers John, “but when I was living in Melbourne, my Dad took me on a road trip to watch Bob Dylan on tour. We hit nine shows in ten days – it changed my life and compelled me to write music and drive me forward. Bob’s music has always been around in my house, growing up. Mum and Dad constantly played the Beatles, Oasis, Paul Heaton, Frank Sinatra and, of course, Dylan – so it was a very musical upbringing.”
John’s influences also include Donovan, Marc Bolan, Paul Weller, Johnny Cash and, of course, Jake Bugg, who has been known to say nice things about young Mr. McCullagh. His raw abilities bely his age; leaving audiences captivated by the profound maturity in his performances. John’s rendition of Dylan’s ‘Masters Of War’ – sung with such conviction – has won particular acclaim.
In July, John was offered the chance to support Richard Hawley at the big top in Graves Park in Richard’s home town of Sheffield. His performance opening for one of his favourite artists in front of such a huge crowd was a real credit to the 15-year-old, and was warmly received. For his part, Richard Hawley was so impressed he immediately told John, after he’d come offstage, that he’d be taking him on his next UK tour.
John’s debut single, the album’s title track, ‘North South Divide’, preceded the album’s release on 16th September, 2013. In the single’s video, John is seen standing outside his Nan’s house, which back in the ‘80s was a base for miners’ union activity, as John’s grandparents were key figures within that community. The video also features the locked gates to the now-closed mine in Doncaster, pertinently illustrating John’s family background and the lyrical theme of the song.
With an opening slot confirmed for The Enemy and Revered & The Makers at the Doncaster Dome on Friday, 29th November, John is understandably excited by his future prospects, with John revealing, “I’m already writing my second record”.
1. 55 Blues
2. North-South Divide
3. Long Long Way
4. Ballad Of A Blue Poet
5. It Never Rains
6. Rivers Of Blood
7. Ballad Of Mr Henderson
8. Colour Of The Sun
9. Slipping Away
10. Short Sharp-Shock
11. White Rose
12. The Strand