Tonight on Under The Radar, John Todd is thrilled to chat with members of the John McKenna Band!
About the artists:
John McKenna is constantly writing songs- he can’t help himself. This has always been the case going as far back as his days writing and playing guitar with Huckleberry and later Red Guitar. McKenna’s mind tends to accompany passing reflections with gloriously blue melodies. His lyrics are honest- a huge reason why fans of his music connect with what he’s trying to say. John’s version of truth taps into what most folks want to hear- a message that suggests everything will work out in the end. Somehow it will be okay.
The John McKenna band was born out of a conversation between McKenna and Jeff Larison (Blackbird Revue, Oriole Post, Sara Swenson, Red Guitar). Ryan Green (Satellite Soul) was quickly brought into the discussion and the three eventually started working on old and new McKenna tunes. Todd Way (Beggar’s Table, Satellite Soul) was brought in to play bass, but it wasn’t long before he was playing other instruments as well- namely piano and some guitar from time to time. Eventually, the sound was rounded out by an old friend of everyone in the band, Allison Cloud. Brought in to sing, she has also been known to play some percussion- her red tambourine, once considered too flashy, is now accepted by everyone involved. Much to the drummer’s delight…
Beautiful Dangerous is a small collection of songs- approximately 20 minutes from beginning to end. The music, although mellow in nature, carries with it an undeniable intensity brought forth by every member of the band. Musically, this EP is driven by Larison and Way- both possess an uncanny ability to play anything with strings. Electrics, acoustics, piano, bass, lap and pedal steel- all make their way onto this recording and were most likely played by either Jeff or Todd. Allison’s voice comes across as John’s sweet, but also haunting conscious, never letting him forget what should be said and what should be held for another day. Green’s ability to hold everything together from the drum kit gives the songs the backbone they need to stand on their own.
This EP encompasses the band’s beginnings- a time span of roughly two and a half years. The hope-filled melancholy of this project suggests better days are ahead- both for the band and for our fans.