The Mellowship

MAUREEN DEWDNEY

 

Background

 

Maureen Dewdney is a singer and songwriter from the beautiful North Somerset coast. She has been singing all her life and writing songs in the folk tradition since her early twenties. Unfortunately she had a motorbike accident when she was 23 that left her paraplegic, meaning a lot of hopes in her life had to be shelved while she adjusted to her changes in circumstance. Music had to take a backseat, as she played competitive Wheelchair Basketball, ran a small holding, got married and had her beautiful son. It was the birth of her son that brought music back to the fore as she filled the silences in the house with odd fragments of the the melodies and words that were always buzzing around her head. She started to write down some of the words she came up with and eventually started singing with a West Country Band called Bill's Eels around the open mic circuit. Gradually it occured to her  to sing one of her self-penned songs in public. The surprise and hushed silence in the pub that her song created encouraged her to let others hear a few more of the tunes that she had written over the years. Although many of the songs lent themselves to being sung completely acapella, some needed a little more. Mo had no way to accompany herself on instruments and so the concept of The Mellowship developed.... an “umbrella” name that includes Maureen with whichever musicians she is working with at a particular time.

 

The Songs

 

Maureen is an avid listener to the work of other artists in the folk world and will spend hours absorbing the structures and nuances of how their work has been created. Her songs too are clearly within a folk tradition. They often develop from a phrase of words and a few notes that will pop into her mind and rattle around there, slowly picking up other lines and notes until a full set of verses and refrains have been composed often building a story as they go. Sometimes she wakes up with a whole song stuck in her head that has appeared seemingly from nowhere, as happened with 'Down by the fire', and sometimes she will hear the scrap of a tune and it seems almost like the words were already there. This is what happened with  'Grampa Sam' where Lukas was playing a tune to warm himself up before a gig and Mo just started singing along. She also sees music as an opportunity to communicate ideas about the world that we live in and and the choices we make to help get us to a better place. She will often focus in on a subject that she feels the need to address , be that the refugee crisis for example, or the destruction of the NHS. Music is a powerful way for her to express how deeply these things affect us all even if we don't think that they do.

 

This Album

 

Maureen says:

In early 2016 I joined forces with the excellent Antony Chipperfield, wrote a few songs together and went into the studio for the first time in my life. Antony brought the amazingly talented Lukas Drinkwater on board to add double bass to a couple of tracks. We chatted and soon hit it off musically and became friends. Lukas and I got together outside of the studio and he helped me bring this album to life, with his beautiful guitar playing, aching bass and harmonising vocals. The brilliant Ciaran Algar was an awesome addition that adds a counterpoint of clarity and emphasis. The album was recorded at the Beehive Studio just outside Bridgwater.

With Lukas and Ciaran so frantically busy on other projects we have little time to perform live but I hope that we will be able to debut the album before the end of the year.”

 

Maureen is currently working on a set of new songs for an EP to be recorded with Devon-based singersongwriter and guitarist Greg Hancock, hopefully this will see the light of day in 2018!

 

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