The Norman, Oklahoma-bred, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter/pianist Maggie McClure has spent a good amount of her career placing her songs on TV shows such as Dr. Phil, Cougar Town, The Real World, The Vineyard, and The Hills, as well as in feature films like Cowgirls N’ Angels. Her smooth, confessional, piano-driven songs empower and inspire listeners with a positive message of hope, love, and faith.
Maggie’s third and newest album, Time Moves On -- produced by Justin Glasco, whose work includes Dan Wilson (songwriter of Adele’s hit “Someone Like You”), Gary Jules, and Cary Brothers – chronicles her move from Oklahoma to L.A. and centers on the mental and physical bravery it takes to push yourself in an unknown city and make people pay attention and convince them to be part of your dream.
"Coming Home", is a beautiful, nostalgic and uplifting story of returning to a place which is close to your heart. Maggie explains how the song was written in less than half an hour, whilst visiting Oklahoma after being away for a while. “It was most definitely a scenario of a stream of consciousness writing" Maggie confesses. "Coming Home" fuses driving drum beats, catchy vocals and melodic guitar rhythms, creating a happy and endearing song that we can all relate to. Give the song a listen below.
Mixed this week's list up with some tug at the heart string tunes (Bill Scorzari), some flat out funny/fun ones (CDB, Charlie and the Regrets, Shinyribs) and some that lie somewhere in between (The Mavericks). Oh, and yes, there are two K Phillips tunes book-ending the list because I flat out love this record and want y'all to listen to it and love it too!
After years of big labels, The Mavericks are releasing their first studio album, Brand New Day, independently, on March 31st. With a fresh perspective and a newfound creative freedom at the forefront, the Grammy-winning group is back with the distinctive sound that catapulted them to the top. Their “Tex-Mex twang, Cuban-influenced country and retro rock” blend can be heard in the title track HERE. Recently, The Mavericks released their new single “Damned (If You Do)” to triple-A radio. The up-tempo track kicks off with a groovy and melodic guitar riff and is a Latin influenced tune with an infectious, swaying drumbeat, exhilarating horns and the hypnotic sound of the accordion. Raul Malo is captivating as he sings about the struggle between the heart and the mind, and the decisions and lessons learned along the way. Listen (and share) "Damned (If You Do)" below.
Cory Branan will release his new album ADIOS on April 7th. Hear a new track from the record, "Another Nightmare in America," which addresses social inequality, below. Then come see him in April at Garcia's in Port Chester on the 9th or Rough Trade in Brooklyn on the 11th. Tour dates HERE
Shane Henry’s stunning new album, Light in the Dark (due for release April 28) seals the divide between blues and pop, resulting in a sound that boasts elements of both, while also retaining a freshness, spontaneity, and an instantly infectious and accessible sound that expands his boundaries as both a songwriter and a musician. It brings his career to new heights, the accrued accomplishment derived from a fifteen year journey that spans six previous independent releases -- You’re Comin’ Home (2000), Deliverance (2004), The Love EP (2007), Beauty in the Struggle (2011), and a pair of holiday EPs with Maggie McClure, First Thing on My Christmas List (2012) and Happiest of Holidays (2015) -- a steady diet of touring and solo performances, and continuing praise from his peers.
His father played guitar and made a point of exposing him to the likes of the Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix. When he was twelve, his dad took him to 2 concerts that changed his life: Tom Petty at the Civic Center in Oklahoma City, and B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Bonnie Raitt at the Tulsa Blues Festival. That inspired him to learn guitar, a skill he pursued with a passion. That, in turn, led him to the blues and the soul sounds of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Otis Redding, and Donny Hathaway.
“My music has always reflected my reverence for soul music and for the blues,” Henry says. “It’s all about sharing songs that originate through authenticity, from the heart and from the soul.”
“I’ve experienced the highs and lows that accompany a career involved in making music,” Henry admits. “The songs I’ve included on Light in the Dark express that range of emotions -- the struggle, the spiritual journey, the excitement and the enlightenment, all while trying to offer some thoughts about what it takes to find one’s place in the world and the steps we need to take to realize our dreams.”
Produced in part by David Ryan Harris (John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Santana) and Justin Glasco (The Lone Bellow), Light in the Dark boasts songs that effectively reflect an upward gaze while offering hope and comfort in a world where challenges abound and confusion often reigns. A mix of the occasionally dark underbelly, some instantly accessible grooves, a host of ready refrains and fiery fretwork, it carries a persistently uplifting theme throughout.
“I’ll keep on fighting until the battle is won,” he insists on the song “Running Towards the Sun.” He bases his beliefs on eternal optimism, as echoed in “Turn on the Lights,” and the search for salvation, persistent themes found in “Find My Rhythm” and “Save Me.” In fact, the entire album is flush with drive and determination, the result of Henry’s evolution as an artist, an advance that he’s quick to point out.
“This record reflects my development as a songwriter,” he suggests. “It defines who I am. I’ve always believed that if the artist doesn’t feel the music, then no one else will either.”
Ultimately then, his goal is simple. “I want to make a positive impact on my audience through my music,” he says. “If I can shine a little bit of light, then maybe others will find some comfort there as well.”