The Scotsman Sessions #231: Molly Linen

Welcome to the award-winning Scotsman Sessions. With performing arts activity curtailed for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, Glasgow-based singer-songwriter Molly Linen performs her new single, A Lot to Give.

“I find it hard to say definitely what the song is about,” says Molly Linen, the Shrewsbury-raised singer-songwriter who moved to Glasgow to study textile design at Glasgow School of Art and ended up joining the roster of Johnny “Pictish Trail” Lynch’s acclaimed, Eigg-based Lost Map label. She’s telling us about her recent single A Lot to Give, which she’s performed a beautiful, tender version of at home in her bedroom for the Scotsman Sessions.

“It came from, I guess, a feeling of disappointment with certain things that are going on in the world, and maybe the way that certain people were lacking empathy with other people’s situation,” she continues tentatively. “Yeah, but also a feeling of hope and trying to encourage people to feel like they can make a difference in a world where that maybe feels like it’s not possible. That’s probably fairly loose and not very coherent, but I like the idea of people forming their own interpretations of my songs.”

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Linen started writing her own material in Shrewsbury, but it was coming to Glasgow that made her the artist she is now. “Part of the draw of coming to Glasgow was the fact there’s such an amazing music scene here,” she says. “When I moved here I started getting involved in student events, open mic-type things, and then I met more people who were putting on shows.

Molly Linen

“I was playing gigs supporting Martha Ffion and other Lost Map bands, and doing support shows for touring musicians. When I wrote a list of all the labels which would be great to be involved with, Lost Map was the top – I just went for it and contacted them, and luckily Johnny had listened to my songs and really liked them, which was quite surreal.” Her influences include classic musicians like Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan and Anne Briggs, as well as contemporary artists including This is the Kit and Laura Marling.

“I think recently I’ve come to realise the way I enjoy writing,” she says. “For a while I maybe felt a personal pressure to write songs in a particular style that felt less natural to me. More recently, though, I’ve realised how much I love simple, stripped-back acoustic guitar sounds, mixed with woodwind instruments and really textural percussion.”

Molly Linen’s new single A Lot to Give is out now, see www.lostmap.com

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