ONE of the North-East’s best-known ‘celtic musicians’ Mike McGrother has released his first solo album featuring the stories of the people of the region.

Mike is best known as the ‘fiddle frenzied frontman’ of Teesside-based The Wildcats of Kilkenny and has performed internationally as well as building a strong following locally.

‘Where Do The Memories Go?’ is described as “a set of lockdown sketches” based on stories he has stumbled across during his travels.

Mike said: “‘Everyone who knows me is aware that I hate recording. I have always found it too mechanical, impersonal and very unforgiving.

“But these stories are unique – special – and each of them deserves to be heard by a wider audience. So, I taught myself the basics of production and this is the result.

“Where Do The Memories Go? may not make me a millionaire – but the people I have met, their words and stories have made me richer all the same. They capture the spirit of Teesside in song.”

As the self-styled ‘Wild Rover’, Mike has also become known for his community work, especially around mental health, and for staging epic walks, including from Ireland to France and Belgium, and regularly across his native North East of England.

Some of the stories featured on the album also come from his award-winning Joe’s Speakeasy afternoon pub sessions for older Teesside folk.

There is also an emotional tribute to the Thornaby victims of the 1975 Dibbles Bridge road disaster, when a coach carrying elderly passengers crashed at the bottom of a steep hill near Hebden, in Yorkshire. Thirty-three people were killed, including the driver, and 13 others injured.

Stockton-based Mike has also spoken of the “honour” of collaborating with a young man with learning difficulties, who was coping with his own lockdown pressures.

A limited edition CD priced £10 will be released on Friday, July 3rd. Details can be found on Mike’s Facebook page or by emailing

The first 25 confirmed orders will be entered into a draw, with the winner having a song written and recorded by Mike about a loved one, or a memory they wish to share.