When Scottish singer Jim Malcolm's mother lost interest in her own guitar lessons, she sent him to learn how to play the instrument instead, because she didn't want to waste what she had already paid for, he said.
And when his teacher brought in a book of Beatles songs one day rather than the usual classical fare, his enthusiasm was "lit," he said. "I was hooked."
Malcolm will bring his own style of music that has evolved since then to the stage at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 630 Park Ave., Prescott, in a performance at 7 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, and children under age 14 will get in for free. Advance tickets are available at Celtic Crossings Pub at Prescott Gateway Mall. For more information, call 771-1218.
Born 10 miles from Glasgow, the "industrial engine" of Scotland, Malcolm's family later moved to rural Perthshire and Angus, where he spent his early years on a farm. This environment gave him and his friends the opportunity to play loud rock music in the chicken shed, he said, "to the chagrin of neighbors." A local folk singer "turned his head," though, when Malcolm was in his 20s, because this musician sang songs about places Malcolm knew and the history of where he lived.
Malcolm began writing his own songs set in the landscape of his youth, in the style of Scottish traditional songs and has "never returned to the head-banging music of his youth," he said. Now he says his songs "sound as if they are hundreds of years old, but at the same time are completely modern."
This solo artist accompanies his songs with guitar and harmonica. Of his performances, one critic said, "Given the right song, he'll melt you in your seat." Radio Scotland calls him "the new male voice of Scotland," and "Rock 'n' Reel" magazine said Malcolm is "a master of the well-chosen word and melodic inventiveness."
Malcolm tours the United States three times a year, up and down the west and east coasts and through Chicago and the Midwest. On the tour that brings him to Prescott this week, he will be driving a rented car from Flagstaff to Alexandria, Va., playing 20 concerts along the way.
Malcolm has recorded nine solo CDs and has been nominated three times for the title of "Scots Singer of the Year" and was voted "Songwriter of the Year" in the 2004 Scots Traditional Music Awards.
Malcolm and his wife, Susie, have two children, Beth, 13, and Sandy, 9. They stay behind while he tours but he Skypes home regularly, he said.
Friday's audience can look forward to Malcolm's love of performing, making people laugh and communicating his love of Scotland through his songs, he said.