James McLaren: 'A brilliant journalist and a tireless champion of the Welsh music scene'


Tributes have been to a Welsh music journalist killed in a road accident yesterday.

According to Wales Online, 34-year-old James McLaren, who died in a collision on the M48 motorway at 10.20am on Monday, ran a music blog for BBC Wales and had written about the Welsh music scene for the past 15 years.

Media Wales arts correspondent David Owens told the website:

James McLaren was a brilliant journalist and a tireless champion of the Welsh music scene.

He was a man who put his heart and soul into spreading music from Wales to the masses firstly as editor of Sound Nation magazine then latterly building BBC Wales’ hugely impressive music site and blog.

Originally known as Honk, Sound Nation ran monthly between April 2001 and December 2005, during which time it was Wales’ only national music magazine.

Under James’ expert stewardship it acted as a vital part of the Welsh Music Foundation’s larger support-system for the development of a commercially viable Welsh music industry aiding the growth of SMEs, organisations and entrepreneurs, as well as being a must read for those of us who loved Welsh music.

James’ BBC Wales blog was similarly a vital stopping off point for music fans, not only for the sheer volume of information, but for the offbeat stories and quirky gems he would unearth from Welsh music’s dusty past.

His knowledge was staggering and his enthusiasm undeniable.

At all times his intelligence and his good humour shone through. He was a gentleman who will be sadly missed by all of those lucky to have known him.

RIP James.

The Welsh Music Foundation was quoted saying:

We at Welsh Music Foundation are shocked and saddened to hear of the death of James McLaren.

James was one of the original WMF team – creating, editing and managing our monthly newsletter ‘Sound Nation’. His passion poured out of every issue, and with his energy, skill and enthusiasm he quickly became a popular figure in the Welsh music industry.

When he moved on to work for BBC Wales he continued to promote the music in Wales that he cared so much for. He remained a close friend of WMF, working with us on many projects, most memorably a wonderful Q&A with The Blackout in their hometown at last year’s Merthyr Rock festival.

In that session James’ knowledge and passion for the subject, coupled with his camaraderie with the band, and his desire to excite all those watching, was an inspiration for all. It’s a memory we will treasure of a man who we will miss enormously.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

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