Here’s the authentic country sound of Arlo McKinley, taken from his forthcoming debut solo album, Die Midwestern, out August 14 on John Prine’s independent Oh Boy Records. It’s a fine opening shot, with that line “I don’t wanna get high anymore” and a classic balladeer sound, part straight country , part outlaw, mostly just a strong and affecting songwriter with a voice to boot.
McKinley calls this first single, “a powerful song about finding light in the darkness. I wrote this song about moving forward from the things that are keeping you from being free. Freeing yourself from bad relationships, making good out of all the bad things, giving and receiving forgiveness. It’s knowing there’s something better and taking the first steps on the journey to find it.”
Arlo is the last artist John Prine and his son Jody signed together to their label Oh Boy Records. Jody stated, “John was reserved in his praise for songwriters. I played him a couple of Arlo’s songs and he heard Bag Of Pills and said, “that’s a good song” which for him, was very high praise. He loved Arlo’s voice, this big guy with a sweet, soulful, gospel voice. He loved the dichotomy of the hard life lived, presented through such beautiful songs and John was very excited about the promise of the album’s release.”
Coming out of the eclectic Cincinnati scene, Arlo McKinley has washed his songs in the blood of street soul, country, punk and gospel – and tattooed them onto the underground.
Filled with an honest weight and gritty-hope from rustbelt city life, McKinley rolled downriver to Memphis’ Sun Studio where Grammy Award-winning producer Matt Ross-Spang gathered a working man’s all-star band to record his Oh Boy Records debut, “Die Midwestern.” McKinley’s 10 original songs bleed truth from a heart scarred by wild nights and redeemed by Sunday morning confessions. “She’s Always Around,” “Suicidal Saturday Night,” “Bag of Pills” and “Ghost” are all carved out in the key of life.