Perhaps not yet a household name here in the states, Don Mescall is, in his own right, a very successful singer, songwriter and producer. Internationally acclaimed, his discography features cuts by artists from one end of the spectrum to the other; from Rascal Flatts and Lonestar to the Backstreet Boys and Geri Halliwell of the Spice Girls, all the way to Richie Havens, he’s had songs recorded by great artists from every genre.
As many songwriters do, Mescall has spent much of his career writing songs for others, despite having his own incredible vocal gift. He’s always been comfortable as a songwriter, but when you hear this man sing, you will find yourself moved with every single note as you accompany him on the incredible journey that brought him to his new album “Lighthouse Keeper.”
Mescall initially made an impression in the U.S. when he was signed to Curb Records and released his debut album, “Innocent Run,” in 2006. With his second album release (more than a decade later), Mescall wanted to make a record that related to where he was in his own life, so he chose some of his favorite co-writers and artists and asked them for their input, all of which agreed. Thus “Lighthouse Keeper” was created and came to life with the help of his friends and collaborators including Mike Reid, Will Robinson and Steve McEwan, with Mescall co-producing the project with Tommy Harden. Reid encouraged him to make the record, telling him, “You need to do it for your soul. Sometimes it’s just what you need to do.” Mescall took it to heart.
Though now residing in London, Mescall launched the album in his hometown of Limerick, Ireland. Wonderfully, the concert halls sold out and the album went to No. 1 on the Irish Independent Charts, giving Mescall the message that the timing had indeed been right for him to make the record. As he relates: “Sometimes things just come full-circle. There are magic moments in the creation of a song but sometimes you miss out on the performing of it when you’re a songwriter. When I did have the opportunity to go out and play some live shows I realized how much I had been missing performing.
Stella Parton also performs on the record’s first single, “You Don’t Have To Love Me Right Now,” a song that also has been very successful in Ireland’s charts. Mescall has obviously worked hard in his songwriting career over the years, and that creative professionalism shines through in this album. As he states, “A songwriter never rests on their laurels, but with a record you spend a lot of time on it and in this case I co-produced it. So I’m happy that it’s finished and that the people who hear it are liking it. I’m proud of it.”
Blessed to have his own recording studio in Greenwich, London, where he spends many hours writing and recording music, Mescall jokingly adds: “I’m useless in every other way. But I can write songs and produce them. And when people seem to like them it makes you feel like you’re doing the right thing.”
On his most recent trip to Nashville, Mescall enjoyed writing with Brett James, Robinson, Reid, Paul Overstreet and others, no doubt creating future hits you will soon hear on the radio. He will always continue writing and creating for other artists. Mescall relates: “I don’t approach it as ‘this could be good for a particular artist,’ I approach it with the point of view of trying to stay in the moment with the song. Sometimes they make the journey and sometimes they don’t. For me, as I’ve gotten older, the world we live in now we are pushed and pulled and there are so many things we need to do. But with songwriting, when you’re in the creative process, you’re totally in the moment. That to me is the biggest part of it. If the song gets on a record, that’s great, but the magic was in the moment of creation…because you think ‘wow – where did that come from?’”
Take for instance, that inspiration for the title track, “Lighthouse Keeper.” Mescall had visited Ireland with his daughter when she was only 7 or 8 years old. They’d visited a lighthouse in County Cork, and had taken lots of pictures. While on tour later, he found himself in a New York hotel room reminiscing and viewing the photos they’d taken at the lighthouse, inspiring him to write the song with friend Steve McEwan. Having lost his dad when he was only 10 years old, Mescall relates: “As a boy, you follow in your dad’s footsteps, but I felt I’d lost direction after my dad died. So I’m in New York and I’m looking at these photographs of my daughter, and that was the first time it hit me that I was about the age my daughter was then, when he died. So I had this moment when I realized I didn’t want my daughter to ever feel the way I felt when I lost my dad. That’s where the inspiration came from, that I want to be there no matter what, for my daughter and let her know that I will always be there for her. That’s why I wrote it, that’s what I wanted to be for her – her lighthouse keeper.”
Mescall continues: “A lot of songs on the record are about where I’m at in my life. The last song – co-written with my friend Mike Reid – came about because we were thinking ‘when you come to the end of your life, what will be the important things that you reflect on? The love you gave, the love you felt, t’s not the trivial day-to-day problems. So, let love be the last song that you sing.’”
Other songs that appear on the album include “Stormy Weather Friend,” a song Mescall co-wrote with acclaimed songwriter Lori McKenna, based on his true-life struggle with depression and his journey through it, a song that also features his friend, Sharon Corr from the Corrs. Another is “Sunday Drive,” a song reminiscent of Mescall’s own childhood and his desire to remember how close he was with his family when each Sunday after church the family would all get in the car – all 11 siblings, mom and dad – and go for a drive.
In closing, Mescall says he has one main mission. “ I want people to really understand how music feels. Songwriting is a form of communication – and a lyric and a melody can really touch someone. To me, that’s what music is.”
For more on Don Mescall visit his official website, or download the “Lighthouse Keeper” album on all of the usual digital platforms.