MU­SIC ..................................

Public News (Houston) - - PUBLIC NEWS - by Mark Cramp­ton

Stay with me, this ram­bling en­tro does lead to mu­sic, OK? I am, and al­ways have been, a mail-or­der cat­a­log junky – back to my many years over­seas in the Army. I lived for the pe­ri­odic cat­a­logs from Bass Pro Shops, Ca­bel­las, Gander Moun­tain, At­lantic Cut­lery, etc. (Most of the out­doorsy stuff in those cat­a­logs was a LOT bet­ter than the crappy low-bid field gear the Army is­sued, don’t you know!)

Well, af­ter I got out of the Army, as well as at­tend­ing Re­nais­sance Faires and Celtic Mu­sic Fes­ti­vals as of­ten as I could, I got in­ter­ested in Scot­tish and High­land her­itage and his­tory, and added Scot­tish/ Celtic mer­chan­dise cat­a­logs to my lists.

One cat­a­log I get is from The Celtic Croft – who, along with kilts, sell var­i­ous Celtic mu­sic CDs. One of the bands whose mu­sic CDs they listed, back about 2006 or -7 or so, was Dal­las-based NEEDFIRE. I didn’t buy any of their CDs at that time – I was more into “tra­di­tional” Celtic groups like ALBANNACH and CLANADONIA back then.

But I re­mem­bered their name, and I be­lieve the first time I ac­tu­ally saw NEEDFIRE in con­cert was at the 2009 North Texas Ir­ish Fes­ti­val, in this video­vaA-c John Cleghorn on lead, Dy­lan Cleghorn on vi­olin, Ed Waleski on bass, Matt Hen­thorn on drums, Brad Madi­son on bag­pipes. They of­ten had other mu­si­cians – pipers, fid­dlers, even gui­tarists play with them in con­certs­mam1KTE NEEDFIRE was one of the top-name Texas Celtic bands of that decade, and I also saw them at var­i­ous times at the San An­to­nio High­land Games and the Austin Celtic Fes­ti­val. They were fan­tas­tic, and I would think noth­ing of trav­el­ing to Dal­las, San An­to­nio or Austin just to hear them at a fes­ti­val or event! Of course, I have all their mu­sic CDs.

Then NEEDFIRE – the great band that I was fa­mil­iar with - just sort of phased out, I guess about the spring of 2010 or so. An en­tirely dif­fer­ent band, but still call­ing it­self NEEDFIRE http://www.need­fire­mu­ [This web­site hasn’t been up­dated since 2013] – with Ed Waleski from the orig­i­nal NEEDFIRE as front­man – ap­peared on the Texas Celtic Mu­sic cir­cuit, but they were NOT the NEEDFIRE I liked – they weren’t the same, their mu­sic wasn’t the same - so I quit fol­low­ing them. I was un­happy!

Then, won­der of won­ders, at the Sher­wood For­est Celtic Mu­sic Fes­ti­val (Septem­ber 2011), I first heard a band called CLEGHORN – with John and Dy­lan Cleghorn!

Well! CLEGHORN played much of the mu­sic from NEEDFIRE that I was fa­mil­iar with and liked, they put on one heck of a stage show, and the au­di­ence loved them! So I was happy again! Now CLEGHORN is one of the mu­sic groups I fol­low to all the fests and fes­ti­vals!

Here’s a video of CLEGHORN on stage at Sher­wood For­est Celtic Mu­sic Fest Septem­ber 2015,, where I got a chance to talk with John and Dy­lan in depth.

For those of you who don’t know, John Cleghorn had been a fix­ture on the Dal- las rock/blues mu­sic scene since the late 1980s – singing and play­ing gui­tar with var­i­ous bands (in­clud­ing THE KANGS and the JUNK PO­ETS), writ­ing and pro­duc­ing mu­sic. (The JUNK PO­ETS did re­lease one CD back then, but I can­not find it any­where!)

John re­leased a solo CD in 1999 ‘Free­town Johnny” in which he wrote and ar­ranged all the songs – and yes, I have it! (Be­lieve it or not, I had to go to eBayUK to find a copy!) The thing is, on this solo CD his mu­sic man­i­festly ex­hibits the SAME dis­tinc­tive style and ar­range­ment as the mu­sic he later wrote for NEEDFIRE! So re­mem­ber that lit­tle tid­bit, OK?

Like I said, I sat down with and in­ter­viewed John and Dy­lan in depth.

John said that the orig­i­nal NEEDFIRE was formed in 2005 when another Celtic Rock band that he (very briefly) and Ed Waleski were in to­gether broke up. He and Ed mu­tu­ally de­cided to form another band (al­though Ed now claims that HE alone started NEEDFIRE!), recorded a few demos to work with, and de­cided on

a blues/rock with Celtic over­tones style of mu­sic.

They then be­gan look­ing for mu­si­cians. John got drum­mer Matt Hen­thorn to join up (he ac­tu­ally left another band); Ed got piper Brad Madi­son to come. John’s 16-year old son Dy­lan was truly an ac­com­plished vi­ola player, and asked for the chance to try out for the vi­olin part. He played one re­hearsal, and got the part!

John wrote al­most all NEEDFIRE’s mu­sic, and said their mu­sic writ­ing pro­ce­dure was the same one he al­ways (and still fol­lows): John was the prin­ci­ple song­writer (al­though Dy­lan and Ed did con­trib­ute, also); John would ini­tially write the vo­cals and lead gui­tar parts, then turn it over to Dy­lan to write the fid­dle (and now, bag­pipe) and Ed to write the bass lines.

Dy­lan said that some­times, they would re­verse the pro­ce­dure, he would give John a fid­dle or bag­pipe part to work with.

Ob­vi­ously, this was a mu­sic-writ­ing for­mula that worked – and still works - for them!

When I asked John and Dy­lan just ex­actly WHAT hap­pened with NEEDFIRE, be­cause I told them I fol­lowed them for sev­eral years, then sud­denly the group call­ing it­self NEEDFIRE was not NEEDFIRE?

They said that ba­si­cally there were be­gin­ning to be cre­ative and con­trol is­sues, and they were both ac­tu­ally away from the band, when Ed took it over. (Again, in in­ter­views, Ed claimed that HE alone started the group. In one in­ter­view, he said that John and Dy­lan were em­ploy­ees and he fired them; in another, he said that the three were equal part­ners in the band, and they in­di­vid­u­ally left sev­eral months apart. He also claimed the HE alone wrote and owned all the band’s mu­sic.)

At any rate, John said that he actu-

ally had to go to court over a two-year pe­riod to get own­er­ship and copy­rights to NEEDFIRE’s mu­sic, which he had writ­ten (and once you lis­ten to John’s ear­lier – and later – mu­sic, there is no doubt about his writ­ing style, that HE did write it – you know, sort of like John Fogerty’s beef with Saul Zaentz!)

So John and Dy­lan formed CLEGHORN https://www.c leg horn. rocks/ in May 2011, added Paul Muller on Drums and Ryan Car­pen­ter on Bass, and are play­ing shows all over the coun­try – and world!­iDI

CLEGHORN will again be head­lin­ing, along with BLAGGARDS (see my ear­lier ar­ti­cle in Is­sue #42 https://is­­lic­news/docs/pn42pq) at the Sher­wood For­est Celtic Mu­sic Fest this year Septem­ber 9 th( Free Ad­mis­sion, camp­ing avail­able) http://www. sher­wood for­est fa ire. com/more-events/celtic-gath­er­ing/


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