Calum Baird is an independent singer-songwriter and musician based in Falkirk and has toured regularly throughout the UK and Europe for the last eight years.
Calum Baird is a 27-year-old, Falkirk based singer-songwriter and activist, playing songs that tie together progressive and romantic themes in a folk music style influenced by Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Dick Gaughan, Billy Bragg, and Phil Ochs.
Calum performs regularly throughout the UK and Europe at festivals and events, as well as supporting causes and organisations with his music at home and abroad.
Over the seven years Calum has worked in the industry, he has performed alongside Scottish musicians such as Dick Gaughan, Ewan McLennan, Arthur Johnstone, Maeve Mackinnon, as well as Tobias Thiele (GER) David Rovics (US), Andy Irvine (Ireland), Ryan Harvey (US), Attila the Stockbroker (UK), Grace Petrie (UK), Mariela Condo (Ecuador) and many more international musicians.
In this same time, Calum has appeared and performed on national television and radio and has been featured in national and international press, and online media and blogs.
New Single – Für Ewig
I released the single, The Stones of Tomorrow, in the summer of 2020 and an EP, A View From The Notebooks, in the winter of 2020 and they each received a high level of praise and publicity as well as being played across several different radio stations and shows in Scotland, the UK, Ireland and more, including Jim Gellalty’s Amazing Radio show. 2020 culminated in my being named the final Artist of The Week for 2020 in the Scotland on Sunday (read here). My single Stranger Things Have Come and Gone released in early 2021 received similar acclaim, being played on radio shows around the world, including Charlie Ashcroft’s Audition show on Amazing Radio. The single was added to many playlists across platforms and has received over 22 000 streams on Spotify. With this latest single, I want to keep as much of this momentum as possible whilst also adding more to the themes I engage with in these previous three releases.
Für Ewig is influenced by the folk music styles of musicians like Phil Ochs – a musician who is a long-term influence on my work. The track also incorporates contemporary folk-pop/folk-rock styles which gives the song a more complete sound. I wrote, and recorded this single myself in my home studio – continuing a process of learning that I started when I was putting my EP, A View From the Notebooks, together. This final production was mixed by Berlin-based musician, songwriter and producer, Tobias Thiele, at Whitelake Studio in Berlin.
Für Ewig blends energetic vocals, over the top of a crisp acoustic guitar, electric guitar licks and piano parts, and the song features an electric guitar solo and outro that crackles with a classic chorus effect. The track is for anyone and everyone trying to get a toehold in a world that is fast-paced and everchanging.
The song draws on a melancholy which, some might say, comes with age, but which is a palpable mood in society today. This single can be read as a critique and a rejection of an individualistic hedonism which swirls in society – such a disposition has been shown by the pandemic to be a foolhardy one at best; inevitably we all get pulled into the world’s tapestries, whether we like it or not. Moreover, this track can be interpreted as a further interrogation of themes and ideas that feature heavily in my recent work. I think there is more to be explored in these themes and I do not want to let them go just yet, especially in this moment of climate crisis, vast and deepening inequalities and resurgent far-right politics – inequalities in society have only worsened during the pandemic. With this song, I also want to ask if a headlong return to a pre-pandemic “normal” is really the best we can aspire to? Für Ewig is primarily a call for a social consciousness as well as a for a more compassionate society as we still try to come to terms with and emerge from the different and ongoing crises gripping much of the world today.
Like my previous three releases prior to this track, Für Ewig is swayed to an extent by the philosophical and political writings I have been reading throughout the lockdown period by writers such as Angela Davis, Christopher Caudwell and Antonio Gramsci. Additionally, the song makes use of religious terms, inverting them to delve into the song’s themes whilst also conveying the sense of a world turned on its head.
When recording the song, I was working with the title “Present and Past”, drawing on the last line of the song. However, as I began organising the release of the single, the title “Für Ewig” came to mind – inspired by an idea of Antonio Gramsci’s, in fact. In English, Für Ewig means, “forever” and, in many ways, the feelings described in the song feel as if they have been constantly rolling around in my head forever and I try to put this across with conviction in the lyrics. Lastly, the feelings, themes and structures dealt with in the song feel like they have been building up for a long time in the world and have finally been forced to a head by the pandemic – where go from here is something of a crossroads, which brings me to the artwork…
The artwork was photographed in Berlin at the crossroads between Karl Marx-Allee, Straße der Pariser Kommune and Friedenstraße while I was on tour in Germany in 2021 and I think it captures the moods of the song as well as the context of our present times which are influenced by the past.
The single comes out on 26/11/2021 and will be available for streaming and download on all online stores.
Other news and upcoming gigs
For much of 2021, I focussed mostly on my studies at uni. However, I wrote, recorded and self-produced a single, Stranger Things Have Come and Gone, and I also wrote the score for the award-winning Scottish feature-film, Exiles, by Glasgow writer and poet, Victoria McNulty. The film – directed by poet Kevin P. Gilday and David Hayman Jnr – was released and launched online with The Stand in May.
At the end of August 2021, I travelled to Germany and went on tour with the Left Party, Die Linke, where I supported their election campaign with my musical performances. The tour was organised by RedHeadMusic, a radical music agency that I have worked with for several years now, and I was on the tour for two weeks until September 11th and performed in – amongst other places – Rostock, Bremen, Hamburg, Cologne, Mainz and Frankfurt (am Main). In August 2022, I will travel to Germany again to perform at the UZ-Pressefest Festival in Dortmund – rearranged from 2020.
In November this year, I will be performing two shows during the COP26 period, one on the 9th in Edinburgh, in the Southside Community Centre, and then on the following day, the 10th in Webster’s Theatre in Glasgow. The Edinburgh event is an interview-style show with Jeremy Corbyn and will feature poetry from Ghazi Hussein in addition to my music. The Glasgow event is entitled: “Towards Net Zero” and is supported by many of Britain’s trade unions. These events are organised by Fair Pley and The Peace and Justice Project.
Looking ahead to 2022, and in addition to recording and releasing new music, I will be performing at an in-person launch of Exiles in February at Webster’s Theatre in Glasgow. I will also be performing at the Edinburgh May Day festival at the Pleasance Theatre in May.