It was in 2014 when an outfit called Arlo McKinley and the Lonesome Sound seemed to appear out of nowhere, emanating from the Cincinnati area, and catching everyone off guard with the earnest and weighty songwriting of their self-titled debut album. But just as quickly as they appeared, they seemed to disappear without much explanation.
Now six years later, and again seemingly out of nowhere, it’s been announced that Arlo McKinley was the very final artist John Prine himself approved to be signed to Prine’s Oh Boy Records, and is readying a debut solo record called Die Midwestern slated for release on August 14th. Knowing what Arlo is capable of and with the quality of the first single “Walking Shoes” (listen below), it’s certainly an album to get on your radar.
Now 40-years-old, MicKinley kind of gave up on music for a while, and almost missed a big opportunity. Tyler Childers happens to be a fan as well, and wanted to have Arlo open some shows for him. But they couldn’t get Arlo on the line because he refused to answer an unknown phone number. Finally, he picked up. “I’m a little wiser in my ways and a 20 something me would’ve found a way to destroy the one dream that has stuck with me my entire life,” Arlo says.
One thing led to another, and all of a sudden John Prine was listening to Arlo McKinley’s songs. “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.” John Prine’s son Jody says. “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.”
John Prine also took the time to see Arlo McKinley perform live. “The feeling of knowing that a hero of mine took time out of his day to come see me perform is such an accomplishment in itself to me that if it all ended the next day and I found out music just wasn’t in the cards for me, I would’ve still considered everything I have done as a success,” Arlo says.
Die Midwestern was recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, and was produced by Matt Ross-Spang. An all-star Memphis band came together for the recording sessions that included Ken Coomer, David Smith, Will Sexton, Rick Steff, Jessie Munson and Reba Russell.
Die Midwestern is now available for pre-order.
- We Were Alright
- Die Midwestern
- She’s Always Around
- Bag of Pills
- The Hurtin’s Done
- Suicidal Saturday Night
- Once Again
- Whatever You Want
- Gone For Good
- Walking Shoes