A HAUNTED hall is the inspiration of a new album featuring Harwood musician John Maycraft and The Hollies’ Bernie Calvert.
Hall i’th’ Wood, which featured on the television series Most Haunted in 2008, is a popular attraction filled with character, stories and history — something Mr Maycraft thought was the perfect basis for an album.
The Grade I listed 16th century manor house was the home of inventor Samuel Crompton, and was where his famous spinning mule was “born”.
Mr Maycraft, aged 53, who became aware of the hall’s history as a boy, decided he wanted to turn this magic into music, so asked his old friend Bernie to join him.
All the pieces were composed “in the moment” by the pair as a musical response to the hall’s unique and evocative atmosphere.
Mr Maycraft, who has written music for high-profile TV shows, including Eastenders and Grand Designs, said: “I did sessions about 20 years ago when Bernie was still in The Hollies. We used to meet up now and then, and our friendship stemmed from then.
“Growing up around Bolton, I knew about the hall and its history from a young age. What appealed to me was the idea of converting that history into sound.
“We had to negotiate with Bolton Museums for the best times to go in, which ended up being two separate days, so I had two shots at recording it just in case any unwanted sounds from the old radiators crept in there.
“I went down in December last year to check it out, and then Bernie came to join me on the second day, which was at Easter this year.
“We both got more out of this than we first thought. The whole process was really enjoyable.”
He added: “I just sat next to the spinning mule and started composing, and it all started flowing really qui-ckly. I got 17 ideas down, which we whittled down to 11.
“I wanted to convert what I was feeling into music, which I did — thankfully without experiencing a ghostly visit.”
And former Hollies superstar Mr Calvert said: “When John sent me the first batch of tracks one of the things that I picked up on was in some of the tracks I could almost hear the old machinery whirring in the background.
“It’s great to do something completely different to the Hollies.
“John and I bring different elements to the table. I’m a bit more commercially minded, whereas John finds it hard to stop his obsessive compulsive tinkering. But he is a fantastic musician and it’s been a pleasure to work on this with him.”
The Hall In The Wood is available from iTunes. For more information visit the website calmamusic.co.uk.