As the festive season beckons and the bitter cold weather feels more palpable than ever, Manchester based acoustic musician Marc Gallagher appears to be taking a much more positive perspective on winter in the North West. It’s ironic then, that an album much more tonally suited to summer vibes is titled ‘Songs from a Happy Winter’.
The album is soft, upbeat, with the lyrics offering an introspective look at rustic life (English Country Day), the idyllic process of jumping on a plane for a fresh start (Fly Away), with the tracks offering a sonic journey into Gallagher’s life. His last album, titled ‘Songs from a shit summer’ penned a period in Marc’s life that dealt with difficulty, whilst this time the lyrics are much more optimistic, and truly give a glimpse to the man behind the voice.
Hailing from Nantwich, Cheshire, Marc has become a familiar face around the fringes of Manchester, Marc’s one-man-and-ukelele act has seen him venture around tours of Europe, but his rural roots have stayed firmly at home. This time around, he’s supported by a backing band on songs such as Mademoiselle and The Next Move, who will be present when he launches the new album at The Old Pint Pot in the heart of Salford’s student quarter, where the song “Who wants to booze?” will surely be welcomed.
Whilst Songs from a Happy Winter feels somewhat formulaic for the folk genre Gallagher that is never too far away here, I was completely taken off guard with the late musings of Ueberrascht, and Vorbei Komme, which see Marc singing in German. It turns out he lived in Berlin for a month, and there’s something about songs penned in another language that give the album a second wind when it starts to feel repetitive. A short album, it’s one that probably won’t change the minds of someone who took one listen and thought of Ed Sheeran, but there’s a charm here that makes Gallagher’s stories of his own musical journey worth listening to.