Contributing Writer : Garret K. Woodward [TheRFW.com/blog/Garret]
Check out this press release for the latest (pay what you want) record from the Jamie McLean Band- a hard working, touring band of southern rock outlaws. Underneath, check out a feature I did on the group in 2007 (when I was just a babe in the woods).
Jamie Mclean Band – Pay what you want release of latest album, “Completely”, from Mar. 13 until Apr. 13
The Jamie McLean Band is excited to announce the downloadable release of Completely, on March 13, 2010. Following in the footsteps of maverick recording artists Radiohead, the Jamie McLean Band will release their latest album as pay what you want for the month leading up to the physical release on April 13. Completely highlights the band’s deep seated roots in Americana, rock and soul all the while showcasing McLean’s powerful vocals, burning guitar work and introspective lyrics. The melodies soar across each track, binding together this emblematic album.
Frontman Jamie McLean has logged thousands of miles since his musical coming of age. As guitarist for the New Orleans jazz institution Dirty Dozen Brass Band he has performed everywhere from Madison Square Garden to Japan’s Fuji Rock and alongside musical icons such as Elvis Costello, Blues Traveler, and Dave Matthews among others. After years with the Dirty Dozen, Jamie made the decision to part ways in order to give himself fully to his namesake project. Their latest release Completely is rife with swagger, laced with country twang and flooded with lofty rock guitar solos- all of which showcase what can be accomplished musically with a driving rock band and a frontman who’s got more than one trick up his sleeve. The sweeping opener “Diamond Plate” sets the driving, dynamic tone and caresses the ear with the dulcet stretch of harmonies. “Peace and Glory” layers soaring guitar with raw pounding drums entwined in lyrics that scream with unbridled hope while “Brother” exemplifies McLean’s rock sensibility in an anthem that highlights his mastery of the fret board all the while serenading us with the seemingly innate crescendos of his vocals.
3/14 – New York, NY @ BB Kings (Allman Brothers “Big House” Benefit Concert
3/26 – Peekskill, NY @ Paramount Center for the Arts
3/27 – Manchester, CT @ Main Pub
3/30 – Teaneck, NJ @ Mexicali Live
4/13 – New York, NY @ Canal Room
4/14 – Philadelphia, PA @ North Star Bar
4/15 – Charlottesville, VA @ Southern Café & Music Hall
4/16 – North Bethesda, MD @ Mansion at The Strathmore
4/17 – Charlotte, NC @ Double Door
4/18 – Atlanta, GA @ Sweetwater 420 Festival
4/30 – Roanoke, VA @ Martin’s Downtown
5/5 – Raleigh, NC @ Pour House Music Hall
5/14 – Newmarket, NH @ Stone Church
5/30 – Sterling, NY @ Sterling Stage Folk Festival
6/6 – Hunter, NY @ Mountain Jam Festiva
6/18 – Arlington, TX @ Levitt Pavilion
8/5 – Beausejour, MB Canada @ Great Woods Music Festival
9/12 – Atlanta, GA @ Unplugged in the Park
This Time Around – Jamie McLean Band
By Garret K. Woodward
February 2, 2007
Looking outside the windows of the Main Pub, I knew Punxsutawney Phil was full of shit.
I didn’t see any sign of the early spring he predicted this morning. I stared at the blizzard forming across my field of vision. Connecticut has never been known for significant snowfall, though this evening told a conflicting story.
How would I manage my way out of Manchester through Hartford, back down to New Haven? But, on the other hand, the Nutmeg State has never been known as a musical platform for southern rock and blues
Yet, one of their native sons is making his case in venues across the country.
This evening Manchester lay in his crosshairs.
Said to be the bastard child of the musical marriage between Keith Richards and Van Morrison, Jamie McLean is a musician’s musician.
I first came across McLean while covering a Grace Potter and The Nocturnals show last fall at the nearby Toad’s Place- a renowned venue filled with sticky floors and shady women. With most, if not all, of the crowd pouring in after his set in search of Ms. Potter, he played to less than a dozen people with a passion one would attribute to a show bursting at the seams.
While many groups would play to the crowd’s reaction, the band pushed through because, as McLean says, “When I play my music I couldn’t be more emotional and into the whole thing. It is the sound of me. It is what pours out of me un-altered. When we get onstage we are having fun no matter what our moods are or what the crowd is like.”
So, upon our second rendezvous, I came across the same situation.
Small crowd, unrelenting passion.
Having been at the bar for the past hour, I wondered how McLean and his crew would fare with the wintry abyss plaguing those who wander southern New England in search of musical congregations amid sweet libation.
One by one they flocked in and, one by one, they left after their meals were consumed, their tabs paid. It amazed me how no one seemed in the mood to groove and move about the premises.
Although he is from Connecticut (New Canaan), McLean finds those below the Mason-Dixon Line more appealing to what he is trying to create and ultimately put forth.
“We were immediately embraced by fans [in the South],” he said. “That’s not to say they haven’t been into it in the Northeast, because they have been great here too. But, I feel like sometimes in some of the northern cities it takes a little longer to let their hair down.
“People are afraid to let it go and just have fun with it. And, [in the South, it's] immediately a very warm, family-type feeling when we head down there and get in front of those fans.”
But don’t let the lackluster audience fool you- McLean is no stranger to success.
Being the guitarist for New Orleans-based The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, he traveled the world, played in front of thousands, and experienced what it truly means to be apart of something special. But, eventually, he grew restless, wanting a project of his own.
This, in turn, led to his departure from the group last April.
“As far as passion with my playing, towards the end of my time with Dirty Dozen I began to get a bit jaded with the music and could sort of feel the passion leaving me,” said McLean. “Once I began to feel that I knew immediately that it was time to do something else. That something else was my music, my vocals, my heart and soul and I knew I had to do the Jamie McLean Band.”
With his gear packed and his sights set on the horizon, McLean entered the legendary LoHo Studios [Keith Richards, Phish] in New York City with his brother/drummer Carter to record This Time Around- an ode to a new beginning and a fresh sense of self. Released in 2005, the album solidified the musician’s transformation from sideman to lead singer.
Though many would think having a sibling in your band would cause more conflict than just that between fellow musicians, the McLean duo uses it to their advantage.
“There is an ESP between us onstage and in the studio,” said McLean. “We know what we’re looking to do. It’s a blessing and a curse. Some people say we’re like The Wood Brothers and some people say we’re like the Robinson’s [The Black Crowes]. There is general sibling rivalry but I don’t have to think twice when I’m writing music ‘cause I know when I enter the studio he’ll fire it up.”
It seems the brothers really do have an onstage connection.
The set progresses and picks up momentum. With snowflakes and an oddly placed Walgreen’s outside the window as a backdrop, the jams become sweatier, dirtier, and tighter as the mounting crowd immerses themselves in the moment.
After trying out a few new tunes, an oldie, but a goody, emerges with a cover of Otis Redding’s “Mr. Pitiful”. McLean takes the microphone and dedicates the number to “all of your out there tonight and those on the television as well”- in an effort to poke fun at the vast sea of electronics lining the wall.
With laughter subsiding, the band jumps headfirst into the selection. The masses begin to move with reckless abandon. There is no turning back now.
Watching the group hit their stride, one can pick up on the real essence of the Jamie McLean Band- they plain and simple just enjoy the experience of being up on some random stage, on some random night, playing their hearts out for a bunch of random people.
All friends were strangers at one time- the band soon wins over its audience.
With 2007 well underway for the Jamie McLean Band, it seems the only way to go is up. After a trip into the studio next month, the band will release their next album this coming August.
But for now, Jamie McLean will press on and do what he does best.
“Since day one we’ve just enjoyed what we are doing and we do it for what I think are all the right reasons, for the love of the music and connecting with each other and the fans.”