called back.jpg

CALLED BACK (the poems of Emily Dickinson)  2021- JOHN HINSHELWOOD

(littleroots records  lrcd 1006))

Called Back’ is the sixth solo release from Scottish singer/songwriter John Hinshelwood, and it is a departure from previous records both stylistically and with regard to personnel.
Although John has composed the music, the words are by 19th century American poet EMILY DICKINSON, and the main aim was to try to match the poems to a variety of American musical styles ranging from old time and bluegrass, through to jazz and soul, with detours via folk, Celtic and Americana. There are also three Dickinson inspired instrumentals. The title of the CD (and of the closing track) is the inscription on Dickinson’s gravestone, and the words of her final letter to her cousins shortly before her death in 1886.

Featured musicians include members of John’s band - TIM BLACK (guitar), ED McGLONE (bass), and FRANK McHUGH (drums), veteran LA session percussionist STEVE FORMAN, critically acclaimed singer/songwriters BARBARA NESBITT, from Austin, and West Highlands based MAIRI ORR, as well as previous contributors DAVE CURRIE (dobro), multi-instrumentalist COLIN MACFARLANE, and singer/songwriter CATHRYN CRAIG, recently relocated from Nashville to Ireland.

The album also benefits greatly from an infusion of some exciting young musicians based in Glasgow. From the folk scene there are contributions from two multi award winners, Australian born fiddler JERI FOREMAN and mandolinist LAURA-BETH SALTER, and the world of Scottish jazz is represented by BBC Young musician of the Year DAVID BOWDEN (double bass), tenor sax player JAMES STEELE, a protégé, of Tommy Smith, and trumpeter ALEX SHARPLES of critically acclaimed big band Fat-Suit.



RELEASE DATE – 10TH MAY 2021 – littleroots records


 Profiles of the musicians involvedCALLED BACK(musician profiles).pdf


An album that wonderfully captures Dickinson’s spirit and heart, while also creating its own worldMike Davies, FATEA magazine

 It is not just a  collection of songs, it is a labour of love, and the end result is something to treasureStewart Fenwick, CMDS magazine

The care that Hinshelwood has taken to find just the right instrumental combination and vocal partner to deliver the perfect harmony shines through alongside an obvious love and respect for the words of

The pieces are thoughtfully arranged, and there is never a sense that Dickinson’s words are being forced into a musical phrase. Listeners will find in ‘Called Back’ a lovely poetic and musical stroll along Dickinson’s many paths. Diana Wagner, Emily Dickinson Society Bulletin

Hinshelwood’s interpretations of Dickinson have about them the feel of a Great American Songbook,and so many specifically American musical genres are invoked…country, bluegrass, jazz, blues, soul, redolent of Townes van Zandt, Steve Earle, and even Nebraska era Springsteen. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Neil Fulwood, London Grip Arts website

“An ambitious project, brilliantly executed and well worth a listen. Darren Johnson, Darren’s Music Blog

“Each of the poems makes a surprising transformation into song…….and in places it’s easy to forget we’re listening to poetry from an entirely different era, notably “Hunger”, which is as contemporary to the West Coast music scene of the 1970s as it probably was to the East Coast literary scene of the 1870s.Allan Wilkinson, Northern Sky Reviews

“The music is very beautiful and fits perfectly with the poems of Emily   Dickinson”. Rootstime, Belgium

“A fine tribute to the work of one of America’s leading poets, allied to musicianship of the highest quality, makes this a rewarding listen”. David Jarman, Americana UK

“Hinshelwood has done a wonderful job at interpreting these works, and  has managed to marry two art forms and push his own boundaries, whilst opening up a world of possibilities”. Zoe Hodges, Maverick magazine

“Emily Dickinson’s singular poetry receives considerate treatment from Scottish singer/songwriter John Hinshelwood, who sets her work to modern American accompaniments - bluegrass, old time, jazz- without obscuring the poems’ questioning wonder”. Jim Gilchrist, The Scotsman









LOWERING THE TONE (2014) – JOHN HINSHELWOOD (littleroots records lrcd  1005)


Recorded in Glasgow and featuring John's regular live line up of Tim Black, Ed McGlone and Frank McHugh, plus guest appearances from Kathy Stewart, Patsy Seddon, all members of the City Sinners, and former band members Tim Clarke and Dave Currie.

Nine of the eleven songs were written or co-written by John, and there are covers of Carole King and Craig Fuller.



 Hinshelwood is a fine writer and has plenty to say about life and love without ever descending into cliché…there’s some twang, some fine harmonies, and an effortless groove….highly recommendedJeremy Searle - Rock and Reel

…an excellent album… reminiscent of the latter day Byrds, Guy Clark, Jackson Browne and Poco (along with a host of others)…..recorded in Glasgow, but you would swear that this was a bunch of grizzled LA veterans sweating it out in Burbank. Paul Kerr - Blabber and Smoke

"American Lifestyle” is a sublime piece of songwriting and production, and ”I don’t want to hear that” is typical Rodney Crowell, and wouldn’t be out of place on one of the Texan’s records.  Maurice Hope - Americana UK

There is a set of singer songwriters who seem to plough a furrow just below the recognition that they deserve. They include Steve Forbert, Guy Clark, Rab Noakes, Robert Earl Keen and Sam Baker. I now have to add to this list John Hinshelwood. I don’t know how I’ve managed to miss him as this is  a superb album full of beautifully crafted songs.  Kevin Moug -  Maverick magazine

 The song "What's left is what's Right", written by John with Ginny Phillips, reached number 4 in the British and Irish independent Country Music chart.


 Lowering The Tone – John Hinshelwood (littleroots records 2014)

 John Hinshelwood is one of the stalwarts of Glasgow’s (and further afield) Americana scene although rarely does his name appear in lights. Performances, either solo or with his band or with The City Sinners seem to appear in fits and bursts although he does a regular slot at Tchai Ovna in the west end. Over the years he’s championed the memory of Gram Parsons with several tribute shows while his musical collaborators have included Rab Noakes and Gene Parsons while he’s supported Roger McGuinn (that’s three Byrds mentioned so far), Tim O’Brien and Martin Simpson.

 Lowering The Tone is only his third album in a decade but as with its predecessors (Holler ‘Til Dawn and Shattered Pleasures) it’s an album informed by American country rock and folk circa the early seventies, reminiscent in turn of the latter day Byrds, Guy Clark, Jackson Browne and Poco (along with a host of others). The end result might not be cutting edge but its joi de vivre is infectious with Hinshelwood obviously enjoying himself while the quality of the band(s) he has assembled (all local including his regular live band, members of The City Sinners and a few other crack players) is at times astonishing with guitar players Tim Black and Iain Barbour both in spectacular form. The album was recorded in Glasgow’s Calton Studios but at times you would swear that this was a bunch of grizzled LA veterans sweating it out in Burbank.

 Hinshelwood wrote (or co-wrote) nine of the eleven songs here and all are well above par. The opener Radio Angel starts off like an earnest singer songwriter strumming his wares but pretty soon Malcolm McMaster’s pedal steel swoops in as the song picks up pace. McMaster has a tremendous solo while Tim Black’s acoustic slide snakes away. With some very fine harmony vocals from Kathy Stewart the songs kick-starts the album in swell fashion. A fat backed pedal steel introduces the Western Swing styled I Don’t Want To Hear That and again McMaster delivers a fine solo that humbucks away while Black’s guitar is almost Hawaiian. Laid back and with an infectious groove that recalls Danny Adler’s Roogalator it’s a tremendous slice of music. Look Back In Anger is a story song of star crossed lovers that again features some superlative guitar over sumptuous jangled acoustics and swirling organ.What’s Left (Is what’s Right) is a swampy blues effort while A Few Shallow Moments has a Byrds like intro before Hinshelwood launches into a Gene Clark/Jackson Browne mode with a Beatles middle eight thrown in for good measure. Sometimes less is best and Hinshelwood delivers the excellent Little Rowdy accompanying himself on acoustic with Iain Barbour’s sympathetic lap steel the only colour added allowing his fine voice space to shine. Back to the full band and No Easy Way weighs in like a descendant of Gene Clark’s dense productions on No Other. Ed McGlone’s fretless bass throbs throughout like a lead instrument and reminds one of Joni Mitchell’s jazzier forays. The Cost of Doing Business is a cover of an old Pure Prairie League song and while it coasts along in a fine manner it suffers in comparison to the songs surrounding it. As if to prove this Hinshelwood next delivers one of the album highlights, American Lifestyle. A loose limbed Dobro driven road film synopsis it opens with a couple marrying in Mexico, feeding on hamburgers, French fries and milkshakes on their honeymoon as the rhythm section skiffles away and mandolin sparks against the Dobro. Excellent.

 McGlone’s fretless bass reappears for the lengthy A Poet’s Life which is an impressionistic paean to Walt Whitman. Again Joni Mitchell and Gene Clark are recalled as the music curdles around Hinshelwood’s voice and ends with a fine coda. The album ends with a cover of Carole King’s Crying In The Rain with Patsy Seddon and Kathy Stewart adding their voices to Hinshelwood’s offering a version which is as shiveringly good as the Everlys.

 Lowering The Tone is an excellent album which along with offerings from other bands such as The New Madrids and The Wynntown Marshals shows that Americana is alive and well in Scotland. 

 Paul Kerr

 Blabber and Smoke

 June 2014 






SHATTERED PLEASURES (2009) – JOHN HINSHELWOOD  and  SANDRA GELLATLY (littleroots records  lrcd 1004)


Duo project with Canadian singer Sandra Gellatly, recorded in Glasgow, Scotland.

Features nine originals plus songs by Gene Clark, Julie Miller, and David Scott.

Musicians include The City Sinners, Tim Black, Colin McFarlane, and Alasdair Robertson.



This is a cornucopia of pleasures, all of which are perfectly formed, not shattered. Julie Miller’s “Can’t Get Over You” is a masterpiece of slow burning intensity, and Gene Clark’s “Tried So Hard” swings along even better than the original. Hinshelwood’s songs stand tall in such exalted company too, and Gellatly has a voice that shivers the soul.  R2 magazine (formerly Rock n Reel)

 A slice of fine, well sung and well played country rock songs. An album to be savoured. Americana UK

In the company of Ms Gellatly, Hinshelwood has taken a potentially good idea, and made it into a great album.  Bluesbunny website

Classy with cross genre appealGriz Kitchener – 2GCR Radio, Austria

Superb RecordJune Williams – KHBW Radio, USA

For those favouring Americana, this has to be top of your list. A really enjoyable listening experience.   Maverick magazine

A breath of fresh air.  Erik Topholm – Kanalen Radio, Holland

Shattered Pleasures was the featured CD of the week on Celtic Music Radio, UK Country Radio, and Hope FM.


 The song Hear Your Voice, written by John and Sandra, received extensive radio airplay across Europe, and spent four weeks in the European Independent Country Music top 30.







HOLLER TIL DAWN (2002) – JOHN HollerHINSHELWOOD (littleroots records  lrcd 1003)




Mainly acoustic album recorded in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Galashiels, Tennesee, and California. 


Features 11 of John's compositions, plus covers of songs by Lowell George, Kathy Stewart and Chris Hillman/Gram Parsons.


Guest musicians include Gene Parsons, Rab Noakes,Cathryn Craig, and Kathy Stewart.

This album proves that there are writers and performers in British Country Music who are well worth listening to: fine lyrics, a good range of styles, and admirable musicianship cuts ‘holler til dawn’  from the herd, and should be checked out. Al Moir, Country Music People


A whole bunch of excellent instrumental and vocal contributions. Hinshelwood’s material covers the whole spectrum of Americana, leaving out the the over-produced, rhinestone clad Nashville C and W stuff, and does it all well. Dave Arcari, Perthshire Advertiser


John is not only a great writer, but he’s a great observer as well. The music is the kind that can be playing in the background of your life, but still move you by its mood. Linda Fryer, Countryfryed News, USA


Damned good. Great music and beautiful songs. I will give this regular airplay. Theo Geenen – Radio ATZ, Belgium


Great Music! Trudy Burke, WYN FM Radio, Australia




'LOWERING THE TONE' and 'CALLED BACK' also now available at Bandcamp (