The Scotsman Sessions #403: Murdo Mitchell

Welcome to the Scotsman Sessions, a series of short video performances from artists all around the country introduced by our critics. Here, Glasgow-based singer-songwriter Murdo performs his track One Glass

Murdo Mitchell was raised on a soul-nurturing pop diet of folk, country, 70s punk and the Carpenters.

“Quite an eclectic range of genres really,” he says, with not a little understatement, “which is probably why I struggle to stick myself into one box musically. I hope my voice is the red thread that binds the tracks together, rather than any one specific, genre-centric music.”

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The Glasgow-based singer-songwriter is part of a growing wave of young Scottish artists such as Katie Gregson-MacLeod and Dylan John Thomas who aren’t afraid to bare their souls. Confessional kids with acoustic guitars always seem to thrive during uncertain times. Their sincerity is comforting.

The song Mitchell has chosen to perform for the Scotsman Sessions, One Glass, is fairly representative of his raw-nerved style.

“It’s about life being fast paced,” he explains, “finding yourself going out a lot and talking about all your big plans without actually putting any of them into action. The quote for the song in a nutshell is ‘the higher you’re getting, the lower you’re going, but I’ll meet you there nonetheless.’”

Mitchell started writing songs around the age of 11. Naturally, his first effort was about love. “The sort of really meaningful heartbreaking deep love that every world-weary 11-year-old feels. It was about a girl who broke my heart, so I wrote a song for her. Earth-shattering stuff, I know.”

Shortly afterwards, he tried to convince his classmates that he’d written Lola by The Kinks. “And I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for one of the other meddling kids’ dads recognising it.”

Murdo MitchellMurdo Mitchell
Murdo Mitchell

A few years later, while busking on Glasgow’s Buchanan Street, Mitchell enjoyed a chance encounter with legendary Scottish song-poet Donovan, who eventually became a mentor.

“He helped me on a few of my songs and taught me some guitar picking techniques. He’s an excellent eccentric and a true musician, whose writing is magnificent.”

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Does he see himself as part of the Donovan-esque troubadour tradition?

“I just try to be honest through music. I only want to be honest with it. When I feel a certain way I know I need to get my guitar. It’s like sometimes I feel a song before it’s a song. It feels like it needs to be written. It can be very cathartic writing music and also quite dark sitting with those emotions sometimes, trying to understand how you really feel.”

2024 will be a busy year for Mitchell. More live dates and releases are planned. But what of the future beyond that?

“I’d like write an original soundtrack,” he says, “sort of like Eddie Vedder did with Into the Wild or Badly Drawn Boy with About a Boy. I’d love for a body of work to represent a storyline or capture the feelings of how the audience would feel at certain points, and tie all of that together through the music I’ve written. That’s my dream.”

For more on Murdo Mitchell, see