Gareth Overton and Lorraine McCann are an Edinburgh-based folk duo. Vocal harmonies, acoustic guitar, piano and trumpet lend their original songs a unique sound.
Their debut EP - 'Overton & McCann' - was released in April 2023 and is available from overtonmccann.bandcamp.com
Gareth became half of Overton & McCann via a winding road. He grew up playing in brass bands with his dad and brother in Yorkshire, and had piano lessons. But although his family made music, there were never records or radios playing, leaving him with an extremely patchy musical education.
In his 20s he bought a trumpet, opening doors to London’s amateur orchestras and big bands, and he found his voice singing in choirs.
He discovered an entirely new itch at singing weekends in the 2010s with folk group the Young’Uns, then time in a flamboyant choir taught him to shed inhibitions. Finally, while he was shopping for something else, the spontaneous response to Lorraine’s Gumtree ad resulted in Overton & McCann.
His youth tuned his ear and gave him influences that are now the background to a mid-life resumption of his musical schooling and a new-found creativity that produces his harmonies, trumpet solos and original songs.
Music has always been in Lorraine’s life: her uncle is a drummer and her father played accordion. Around the age of eight she was given a small accordion of her own, but it didn’t take, and it was a secondhand guitar a few years later that hit the spot.
"It came with a book of American country standards," Lorraine remembers, "but I didn’t know the tunes so I just made up my own melodies. Soon it clicked that this was how songs could get made - by pulling them out of the air while strumming a guitar."
Lorraine began performing in Dundee in the early ‘80s, singing and playing bass in a C&W duo which branched out to play pop and rock covers on a ferry from Aberdeen to Shetland. At sea, in the middle of the night, she began to write more songs. Demos were made but then post-university life took over and she settled in Edinburgh to work in publishing. She also acted and wrote drama for BBC Radio 4.
In 2018, Lorraine wanted to find someone to sing with, and met Gareth. “It’s a real learning curve,” she says. “Our backgrounds and influences are poles apart. It’s a different musical palette we’re working with, and that’s what makes it interesting.”
Overton & McCann on the Porty Podcast (April 2023)
"Life for musicians has been tough over the last three years. The Pandemic locked them out of all of the venues they’d played to entertain their audiences. Some of them however saw it as an opportunity, perhaps not at first, to think about their music and to change direction. That’s what happened with the locally based singing partnership, Overton and McCann." - David Calder, producer of the Porty Podcast