But now, MacLellan is covering songs by her legendary late father with a magnificence only blood ties can summon.
“If It's Alright With You: The Songs of Gene MacLellan” will be released June 30 on True North Records.
For two decades, Gene MacLellan quietly commanded the ears of the world from his P.E.I. home as artists including Anne Murray, Elvis Presley, Loretta Lynn, Chet Atkins, Joan Baez and Ocean turned his compositions like “Snowbird,” “Put Your Hand in the Hand” and “The Call” into worldwide hits and repertoire standards.
Catherine — who counts a 2015 Juno and a boatload of East Coast Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and Music P.E.I. Awards among her accolades —is fully embracing the musical heirloom her father gave her.
“The Juno made me feel as though people know me and appreciated my music,” she said. “Now I want to share my dad's music. It's also an opportunity for me to get to know him better. The more I get to know his songs, the closer I feel to him."
MacLellan lost her father in 1995 while still in her mid-teens, but her readings of his songs have unearthed a rare joy.
“Dave Gunning, JP Cormier and myself played it as an encore on tour and it was so fun, just two guitars and three voices. We recorded our version in three hours one afternoon in Calgary and I think it’s perfect,” said MacLellan of “Put Your Hand in the Hand,” a gospel/pop smash charted by 70s rockers Ocean and still performed in every corner of the globe today.
And what would Gene MacLellan make of his daughter’s journey through his songbook? “He would be happy to know his songs continue on, being remembered and given a new spark,” she said. “It’s a testament to what a young guy from very humble beginnings can do.”
How to listen:
Pre-order “If It’s Alright With You: The Songs of Gene MacLellan” via iTunes, Amazon or the True North label store.
Song by song commentary from Catherine MacLellan Here
See the YouTube preview of the album below