As the son of folk legend Ashley Hutchings and singer Judy Dunlop it is hardly surprising that Blair Dunlop is a talented musician.
But Blair is proving himself to be much more than that. He has become something of a cult hero and he is being feted as a superstar in the making.
Despite his relative youth (he is just 24) the Chesterfield-born singer-songwriter is carving out his own place in the folk music world.
He has won awards, toured the UK and overseas, collaborated with a variety of writers and musicians, moved to London and set up his own record label Gilded Wings Records.
On May 6 he released his third studio album Gilded and he will also be starting a 16 date UK tour which arrives at the Flowerpot in Derby on May 26 and is at Greystones in Sheffield the following night.
Although he has moved south Blair says he loves to return to his home county to visit his parents – not least because his girlfriend lives in Sheffield.
Gilded follows on from his highly acclaimed 2014 release House Of Jacks and his outstanding debut album Blight and Blossom in 2012, which saw him win the BBC R2 Folk Horizon Award.
On this record Blair remains true to his folk roots lyrically, while continuing to push musically into new areas. Blair is a story teller, known for his mature, cerebral, life affirming lyrics and on Gilded he challenges love, relationships, the environment, workers’ welfare, compassion and more.
He admits that as he gets older and he has experienced a little more of life his lyrics are evolving.
“I am more grounded and now I have more confidence to make the music I want to make. I guess this album is all about life and growing up. This is me entering into adulthood.”
Gilded was recorded in live takes at Manchester’s Blue Print Studios where Elbow record their work. “It was a great space in which to work and the sound was amazing,” he said.
Album opener Castello sets the tone for the narrative nature of the record with lyrics inspired by the dreams, lineage and experiences of a woman Blair met while staying at a 14th century Italian castle during a European tour.
Eternal Optimist was born of his frustration and intrigue at the digital world in which we live. “Our real-world experiences seem increasingly subservient to the digital facades we are obsessed with maintaining and refining,” explains Blair.
First World Problem, written with Blair’s old Albion Band mates, also reflects on society and the lack of compassion, in the Western world.
For details about the album and the tour go to http://www.blairdunlop.com