INTERVIEW: Kewen & the Crosswalks | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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I’ve put blood sweat and tears into this. I’ve always had my eye something big, and not only is it big, it’s far better than anything I’ve done previously.”

Callum Kewen is a singer-songwriter from Blyth. He is a music teacher as well as a performer, but he is first and foremost a lover of music. With early memories of his grandfather singing at parties, the cornerstones of Kewen’s upbringing blueprint his lifelong love affair with music. At aged 12, Kewen attended a Bruce Springsteen concert which led him to pick up a guitar, which led him to sing, which eventually led him to this, Chapters.

There are two things that leap out of Kewen’s debut album upon first listen: the first is that love of music. A fusion of ideas, Chapters merges elements of traditional Americana with lively, anthemic rock cohesively into a singular, signature sound. With the album leaping from folk ballads to Green Day-tinged odysseys, the meeting of influences and the passion and affection in which they dance together is beautiful.

The second thing leaping out of Chapters is the ambition. The scope of the project is inspired and includes a full band for the first time. “From the beginning, I wrote this with a different, grandiose mindset.” Kewen explains. “As much as I see this as a solo project, having the band come together let me open so many doors! Now, finally, I can write thinking of swelling harmonies or string orchestras, this project had me spinning as many plates as I wanted!”

From the beginning, I wrote this with a different, grandiose mindset

Not only is the Kewen pushing the sound of his debut, he has been pushing himself tirelessly. This is a project of firsts, as he ticks off many things he has always aspired towards. “I’m knocking things off my bucket list almost track by track! From little things like always wanting a song with a saxophone solo, which became the title track, to more specific things like a song over 10 minutes or having always yearned to write a country song, which became Lake Song.”

Lake Song in itself is a beautiful testament to Kewen’s songwriting, as this stripped-back tale paints such a detailed eulogy of a couple in such a short time. Whereas By My Side is a triumphant 12-minute opus that constantly evolves, bringing a gorgeous journey to a vitriolic finale.

On both tracks, the influential touches of Springsteen are never too far away. “Bruce wrote stories, maybe less about personal experiences, and I’ve always been the opposite, but Lake Song was my attempt to tell a story that isn’t my own. With By My Side I essentially wanted to write Rosalita (Come Out Tonight). I wanted that energy and that sense of congregation. I find Springsteen so interesting, you can’t put him in a box. He is a stadium rock icon, but also has his stripped back folk records and even Americana releases. He has so many strings in his bow and they’re all amazing!”

With Chapters arriving this month, Kewen’s debut is one to take note of, especially as he and the band have a Springsteen-inspired live show planned at North Shields’ The Exchange on Saturday 30th September, which leans into a big, bombastic showcase full of love and music and promises all the biggest and most euphoric numbers off the debut.

Kewen & The Crosswalks release Chapters on 15th September. They play The Exchange, North Shields on Saturday 30th September.


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