Arlo McKinley – Orion Free Concert Series
Concert begins at 7:00PM sharp.
2022 Orion Free Concert Series at Overton Park Shell. Picnic baskets, beverages, blankets, and lawn chairs are always welcome. We also offer food and beverage for sale in our ShellEats community area. Dogs on a leash are welcome in designated areas. Overton Park Shell is a nonsmoking facility.
About the artist:
He self-released his first album, Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound, in 2014 when he was thirty-five. It may have seemed he was getting a late start. But he entered the game almost fully-formed, without any immature or embarrassing skins to shed. He says, “I wouldn’t have been able to write about what I’m writing now or been very relatable if I hadn’t lived the thirty-something years before I started writing.”
Like his last album Die Midwestern –which Rolling Stonepraised for its “songs of heartbreak, restlessness and hard-won experience” and NPRcalled “personal and moving” -the latest was cut at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis with an ace band that includes drummer Ken Coomer, guitarist Will Sexton andkeyboardist Rick Steff. McKinley says, “That studio is like atime capsule. There’s just a feel where you can tell there’s been some great stuff made in there -Elvis, Jerry Lee, Roy Orbison. Really though, more than the studio, it’s the band and the producer.”
Of Matt Ross-Spang, who’s worked with Jason Isbell and Margo Price, McKinley says, “He completely gets what I’m trying to do. I sent Matt guitar-vocal demos of fifteen songs. He would show them to the band right before we’d go out to record, so a lot of these songs, the musicians are making up these parts on the spot. Jessie Munson did the string arrangements. She comes up with really pretty lines.”
The addition of strings brought a cinematic dimension to McKinley’s music that accentuates his feelfor romantic melancholy. “I love Nick Drake and Nick Cave, how their songs can be very simple but sound big,” he says. “Wes Anderson movies too. I love how he’ll use music in a very simple scene to evoke a big emotion. I think this album conveys a mental picture a lot more than stuff I’ve done previously. It’s more than just a collection of songs. You can visualize things.”
As McKinley visualizes the year ahead, he’s optimistic that touring will be easier , and that he’ll get to play Europe for the first time this summer. When asked what he hopes listeners will get from This Mess We’re In, he says, “I hope they can identify with things they’re too ashamed to talk about or feel. There’s such a stigma that goes along with things like addiction and mental health. I just want them to know that I go through all of that stuff too. I would just like to make them feel a little less alone. At least for the 47 minutes of the album, you can remove yourself from the world and just let everything disappear for a bit.”