"She Brings the Springtime" by Mac & WaddellReview
I've never really emphasised over my various reviews how Gemma Leahy Waddell used to share with me periodically some of the tracks which were exciting her as they worked on them down at 14 Records. Her integrity was such that almost always, she'd play me something & decline to name the artist until I'd formed an opinion of the music on its own merits: so as to prevent any preconceptions I might have from shaping my response. Which is admirable in my opinion. Often I didn't guess the identity necessarily, especially if the song was a new direction for someone. This process led to several reviews in this magazine & in introducing a few new names via the "Hot Music Live Presents" compilation series.
A couple of years ago, she was kind enough to play me several songs Matt was not just working on, but appearing on himself as an artist. The idea was to build up an album of collaborations between himself & 14 Records artists. One such track, cut with Kirsty Brewerton called "Totally Together" appeared on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Seven' in January last year, where I hope you heard it. At the time, the over-arching name of the project was "Brothers From Another Mother".
Of course a lot has happened in the time since then, but I'm delighted to say that one of the tracks I really liked which Gemma played me, has finally seen the light of day. Cut by Matt with Dean MacDonald, it's called "She Brings the Springtime" (I'm not entirely sure that it had that precise title when I first heard it) & is issued as being by "Mac & Waddell" rather than the BFAM title: I'm not sure if the project is going to proceed exactly along the lines originally conceived, with the same name, but as "She Brings the Springtime" will also appear on Dean's forthcoming solo album, it probably needed to come out under a different moniker anyway.
While the entry into summer in theory means that the topicality of the song is skewed a little, it really doesn't matter: it's a metaphor for someone brightening up one's life & so any pleasant season does the trick. What got me back in late 2021 (which is when I think I first heard it), what struck me was its evocation of the sound of the imperial phase of British music, slap bang in the centre of the 1960s, past the pop boom of the earlier part of the decade & before blues based rock became more prevalent. If Dean & Matt had the Summer of Love & records which came out at that time in mind, then they've done a fine job of paying tribute.
As always with those songs which Dean has chosen to release solo rather than to play with The Session, it's interesting to work out his criteria: not that it's terribly difficult here. The instrumentation & sound is a long way from what his band work with. "Imperial" I said earlier about the heritage & it applies too to the performance: confident & presumably giving him a chance to channel some of his own listening tastes. It might fit nicely on a playlist with material from "Sergeant Pepper" if you fancy compiling such an artefact. In fact, one might well perceive a great deal of love having gone into recreating the sounds concerned.
That's what caught my ear originally & it's still the case, though the context has shifted a great deal in the meantime while the song remained the same. I heard it as uplifting & optimistic & of course those qualities do not go away whatever else happens. What is added for me is a poignancy of the identity of the person who played it for me & I cannot help associating it in my mind with her. That's now I suspect permanent & no bad thing. However for Dean & Matt especially, similar feelings & responses would be more profound & it may therefore have very different meanings for them than to the average listener: for whom it's a beautiful, classic song. Layers of applicability make for a great song anyway & like the best, "She Brings the Springtime" is designed so that each individual will apply it to their own circumstances & memories regardless of any specific intention by its composers.
As I've said on several occasions in the last couple of years, Dean is in such fine writing form that it's manifesting itself in both quality & quantity, exhibiting such diversity that he's exploded outside of the already capable bounds of The Session in order to articulate his many visions. Not quite as well known however is how diverse Matt is in his capacity to not merely work with a very broad range of talents of all ages in order to help them mould their ideas into records which they feel are true to their intentions, but to actively perform with them, adding authentic touches & feels to a wide spectrum of genres, each of which he clearly understands & loves. If he does end up releasing an album of his working with different artists on each track, then this will be very well illustrated: certainly by only popping up on individual tracks by different artists, it's going to be harder to get a full picture of what he does.
"She Brings the Springtime" moved me much: it will you too.
Check out too the Warwickshire landmark heavy video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZ8MVaE8EMA