By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
Picture it: mid-1600s, Scotland.
“There is a very well-known story in Scotland, that I’ve heard many times over: My ancestor’s clan was being massacred in the mid-1600s, and my ancestor escaped with her four boys to Ireland. She changed each of their last names to protect them from being hunted down, and one of the boys, she changed his name to Young, of the Young family,” Steve Young said. “I think that should be a movie one day.”
If that ever happens, Young has already made the soundtrack.
The Tupelo native and co-founder of American Profile magazine has just released “Legacy,” an album full of Scots-Irish music that honors his heritage.
The publisher and philanthropist has played music since his days in Tupelo, and has always dabbled in song writing. He never pursued it seriously until a trip to Scotland a few years ago.
“It just absolutely grabbed a hold of me. It was like I had been there before,” he said.
He learned his family had roots in the country. In celebration of his impending wedding, he wrote the Celtic waltz “Iona Homecoming.” From there, he decided to make an entire album celebrating his heritage.
His brother, inspired by the “Lord of the Rings” films, learned how to play the Irish whistle for the album. Young called on friend and musician Melissa Du Puy to help him produce the album, and the rest – like his ancestor’s story – is history. Young recorded it in Nashville, where he now calls home.
What you’ll hear
“Legacy” includes a few traditional songs as well as tunes Young wrote.
The first track is a mash-up – something that is most definitely a 20th century invention – of two classic Celtic songs, “Hag at the Churn” and “Morrison’s Jig.”
“It’s a cool fusion of two traditional pieces. We took two classic jigs and put them together,” Young said.
Young wrote about his ancestor’s escape to Ireland in a song called “The Escape of Mary Lamont.” His niece, Audrey Young, co-wrote a song with him on the album.
Young has two goals with “Legacy.” He hopes the album honors his past and his ancestors, and passes on their history to younger generations.
“We all stand on the shoulders of the people who came before us,” he said. “Music is a thread that can take us all the way back. That’s why I love music so much. Music can go back in time but it also brings new things around.”
He said he hopes folks of all backgrounds can enjoy taking a trip in time with “Legacy.”
“I really hope everybody who hears this record will either say a prayer or raise a glass in toast to the generations that came before them that allowed them to be here today,” Young said. “I hope that’s what happens, and it makes them think of their own families. If that happens, then that’s the biggest blessing in the world, and the project was so worth doing if that’s how people receive it.”
Buy “Legacy” online at legacyalbum.net or via facebook/legacyalbum.