Jamie McLean Band has been receiving great press in anticipation of its new LP, One and Only, produced by ex-Wilco drummer Ken Coomer (Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris) at Nashville's legendary Sound Emporium, and featuring contributions from an impressive list of guest artists, from Americana mainstay Sam Bush to reed man extraordinaire Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck, Dave Matthews Band) and mesmerizing British singer/songwriter Lucie Silvas. No Depression, PopMatters and Glide have all shared singles leading up to the Feb. 23 release.
When Jamie McLean and his band get cooking, signature Gibson Les Paul slung over his shoulder, jangling downhome American rock & roll blaring from the speakers—damn the torpedoes, it’s like 1976 all over again. With the depth and honesty of his songs, and the effortless showmanship of his live performances, you can trace a clean lineage straight back from McLean to the legends whose influence he’s proudly stitched on his sleeve.
“I’ve been working at this long enough now that I know what’s going to be a great song and what feels extra,” McLean says. “Tom Petty had the line, ‘Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.’ That always resonated with me.”
McLean’s new LP, One and Only (out Feb. 23), was brought to life with the help of producer/ex-Wilco drummer Ken Coomer (Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris), and it’s the most assured studio expression yet from the Jamie McLean Band. The album also gets a lift from its impressive collection of guest artists including Americana mainstay Sam Bush, who serves up potent flights of mandolin picking; reed man extraordinaire Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck, Dave Matthews Band); and mesmerizing British singer-songwriter Lucie Silvas.
“Some of these songs called out for sounds we don’t normally have,” McLean says. “A little piano, some B3, saxophone. So we had the core [Jamie McLean Band] trio providing the foundation, and then we just grabbed as many badasses as we could from the Nashville scene to augment the band.”
Cut at Music City’s legendary Sound Emporium, One and Only was culled from pure heartbreak, McLean grappling with the dissolution of a long-term relationship just prior to writing the record. He potently distills the experience into the album’s 11 tracks, from the Petty-esque swagger of “You’re Not the Only One” to groovy escapes (“Let’s Get Out of Here”), laid-bare ballads (“Not Today”), open-road country rambles (“Virginia,” “One and Only”), chooglin’ boogies (“Sing It”), soulful summits (“Yesterday’s Champagne”) and—with closing track “Holding On-Letting Go”—a gospel lilt that seamlessly bridges church and concert hall.
“Songwriting is elusive,” McLean says. “It’s like trying to capture lightning in a bottle.’ Really, it’s about being in the right place at the right time. And that’s what happened with this record. I feel like these are my strongest songs to date.”
McLean cut his teeth playing guitar for years in the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, eventually departing to carve his own path as a solo artist. He soon began collaborating with bassist Ben Mars and drummer Brian Griffin, and the Jamie McLean Band was born. Since then, they’ve been burning up the American highway together, playing countless shows, and have thus far released three studio records and a live album. McLean has the sharp, roguish eyes of a hard-touring musician, his resume thick with sessions for everyone from Norah Jones to Aaron Neville and Chuck D; bills supporting Elvis Costello, Dr. John, Robert Randolph and Trombone Shorty; epic performances at Madison Square Garden, Bonnaroo and Fuji Rock; and endorsements from Gibson Guitars and Esquire magazine.
With the release of One and Only on the horizon, the Jamie McLean Band is poised for a breakthrough, its Americana rock & roll honest and true as ever.
“With this new record, I’ve finally let my guard down a bit,” McLean says. “I’m not afraid to say what’s on my mind.”
Jamie McLean Band "One and Only" Tour
Feb 8 Charlottesville, VA - Southern Music Hall
Feb 9 Leesburg, VA - Smokehouse Live
Feb 10 Rocky Mount, VA - Harvester Performance Center
Feb 11 Graham, NC - Haw River Ballroom
Feb 13 Chattanooga, TN - Haw River Ballroom
Feb 14 Knoxville, TN - Bijou Theatre
Feb 16 Asheville, NC - Diana Worthham Theater
Feb 17 Charlotte, NC - McGlohon Theater
Feb 18 Atlanta, GA - Terminal West
Feb 19 Nashville, TN - The Family Wash
Feb 21 Durham, NC - Blue Note Grill
Feb 22 Washington, DC - Hill Country DC
Feb 23 Roanoke, VA - Blue 5
Feb 24 Richmond, VA - Cary Street Cafe
Feb 28 New York, NY - Rockwood Music Hall
Mar 1 Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall
Mar 3 Boston, MA - Atwoods Tavern
Mar 4 Sellersville, PA - Sellersville Theater
Mar 15 Virginia Beach, VA - Doc Taylor's
Mar 16 Easton, MD - Avalon Theatre
Mar 17 Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live