Released by the Xtra MIle Recordings label on 21 July, the first new material from Colin MacIntyre in five years will feature contributions from an all-star cohort of thirteen guest authors: Ian Rankin, Nick Hornby, Jacqueline Wilson, Val McDermid, Jennifer Clement (‘Widow Basquiat’), Booker-winning Sebastian Barry, Alan Warner, 2021 US National Book Award-winner Jason Mott, Scottish poet laureates’ Jackie Kay and Liz Lochhead, and booker-shortlisted Stephen Kelman (‘Pigeon English’).

His collaboration with Liz Lochhead, “1952”, can be heard today.

Mull Historical Society is the musical project of Colin MacIntyre – the multi-award-winning musician, producer, author for adults and children, and playwright. Writing music that is often personal and steeped in the tradition of his native island, yet with an adventurous spirit and outward-reaching appeal, over the last two decades his works have resonated with audiences both in the UK and all over the world.

In 2023, Mull is bringing his worlds of words and music together for the extraordinary new album ‘In My Mind There’s A Room’, Produced by MacIntyre. Across its fourteen songs, MacIntyre has enlisted an all-star cast of literary giants to contribute their own words about a special room that plays or has played a significant part in their lives. Using these words as the lyrics, Colin has then written the musical arrangements to create a 14 track album of personal and thoughtful songs. Rather fittingly, these songs were recorded in a room that holds a special place in Colin’s heart – his grandfather’s flat above the bank in Tobermory, Mull, which has since been turned into a fully-equipped recording studio.

The first of these tracks to be unveiled is ‘1952', MacIntyre’s collaboration with arguably Scotland’s greatest living and most celebrated poet, Liz Lochhead, which is streaming everywhere today (9 June). Lochhead has been the distinctive female voice of Scotland for many years, was the second Makar — Scotland's Poet Laureate — and has been publishing her work for six decades. She is a recipient of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. In ‘1952’ Lochhead writes for the first time about her very first room of her own that she moved into that year of the Coronation (resonating with the events of today) when she was four — living there until she was 18, when she left home for Glasgow School of Art in the Swinging 60’s. The song reflects her childhood reflections of this first room of her own, her fascination with books and seeing the world ‘upside down’, and name-checks authors such as Virginia Woolf.

Speaking about her memories of this room, Liz Lochhead reflects:

“This room was in the first home of their own my parents got after eight years of marriage and staying in their parents' homes in overcrowded council houses in Lanarkshire. I slept in a cot with bars at the end of their bed till then, when I was four… And then this room of my own, a double bed and a whole new world emerged. It’s quite a visual thing, quite a rhyming thing.’

Lochhead also appears on the album track ‘Anaglypta’, on which she recites these memories in greater detail in her own distinctive voice, with the accompaniment of MacIntyre on piano.

Of working with Lochhead on “1952” and the wider ‘...Room’ project, Colin MacIntyre adds:

“It has been a great creative experience and challenge to work with all the authors’ original words and their ‘rooms', and I was delighted to have Liz on board. I heard her on Desert Island Discs and was so moved about how she talked of her parents and her upbringing in the mining community. So it is a thrill to have her on the record — twice! One being on the more upbeat ‘1952’ — from her contribution originally titled ‘A Room of My Own’ — and then in the spoken word of ‘Anaglypta’, which she recited in my significant ‘room’ in Tobermory, in the room where my poet-grandfather wrote his words. So for me it has something of the ‘full circle’ about it.”

Mull Historical Society’s upcoming album ‘In My Mind There’s A Room’ is released on CD, vinyl and digital on 21st July 2023 on Xtra Mile Recordings. Produced by Colin MacIntyre, the album was recorded, Engineered and Mixed by Gordon MacIean, and features a cast of some of the UK’s leading musicians in their fields: Andy Samson, Donald Shaw, Camilla Pay, Sorren MacIean, Hannah Fisher, Phil Bancroft and more. With all songs written by Colin MacIntyre, the full list of author guest contributions are acknowledged in the tracklisting as follows:

NOT ENOUGH SORRY – Jennifer Clement
1952 – Liz Lochhead
WAKE UP SALLY – Alan Warner
KELSHABEG – Sebastian Barry
THE RED FLAME DINER – Stephen Kelman
SOMEBODY ELSE’S LIFE – Jacqueline Wilson
SEEDS – James Robertson
MELTWATER – Jackie Kay
ROOM OF MASKS – Val McDermid
ANAGLYPTA – Liz Lochhead
MEMORIES OF MULL – Angus Macintyre