John McCullagh & The Escorts
“John is an amazing talent for such a young kid! To be honest, he’s just a natural!”
– Alan McGee
John McCullagh – his real name – is a fifteen-year-old from Doncaster, South Yorkshire. He’s 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 north east. 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 but when I was living in Melbourne,” remembers John. “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.”
“Who is this 15 year old kid doing Dylan better than Dylan?”
– Courtney Love
John’s influences also include Donovan, Paul Weller, Johnny Cash and, of course, Jake Bugg, who has offered young John some kind words of encouragement. JLM’s raw abilities bely his age, leaving audiences captivated by the profound maturity in his performances. His rendition of Dylan’s ‘Masters Of War’ – sung with such conviction – has won particular acclaim. John recorded his debut album North South Divide, with Alan McGee producing, in just one day in Sheffield. “I’m already writing my second album,” John explains. Watch this space! You can pre-order North South Divide here.
“You know when you hear someone really good that it blows you away, it transcends influences and decades and makes something old sound brand new.”
– John Robb
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