Guitarist John McKinley releases debut recording
Window On The World
View Window On The World EPK here
Hailing from Roswell, New Mexico, guitarist John McKinley cut his teeth as a young man playing in a variety of rock, blues and horn bands, honing his skills as a guitarist and songwriter while relentlessly touring across the Southern U.S. With his debut recording, Window on the World, McKinley channels the sounds of his Texas influences: Freddie King, Johnny Winter and ZZ Top. Add a dash of the cerebral voodoo of Frank Zappa and the deep soul of McKinley’s Mexican roots and you have a musical palette that serves up guitar-driven blues-rock paired with classic sing-a-long melodies.“I think this album has a lot of musical qualities, but it’s most definitely a guitar album. It’s more rock than blues - a cross-section of all the music I love to play,” says the Kitchener, Ontario based musician.
Window on the World is McKinley’s first outing as a songwriter and recording artist. All songs on the 12-track debut are credited to McKinley or as co-writes with son Darius McKinley, 35, a talented musician in his own right. “The song writing process was enlightening. After decades of playing, it was great to put everything down on a final project”, says McKinley. "I’ve always been writing songs - I just didn’t play them in public. The places I was playing were paying me to play other people’s songs. It was my son Darius who was the real push behind this album.”
The album’s wide-reaching influences make for a number of highlights - from the Texas-style blues-rock of album opener Dirty Nails to the gritty Zappa-esque workout of Stratitude onto the leg-shaking mojo of Rev It Up and the Spanish hip-swaying Cuando Yo Me Voy. It’s a combination of rock and groove with riffs that can’t miss.
McKinley, having called Kitchener home since the early ’80s, is a much-loved mainstay in his adopted hometown. He landed in the city after an offer for a gig with a band including Pino Palladino - a talented bassist that was sought out by rock-A-listers such as David Gilmour, Pete Townshend and Peter Gabriel. With a baby on the way (son Darius), McKinley’s roots were settled in Southwestern Ontario where he continues today to perform and teach young up-and-comers. “John has been a huge part of the K-W (Kitchener-Waterloo) music scene for such a long time it’s hard to believe this is his first album,” enthuses Kitchener powerhouse blues vocalist Cheryl Lescom. “He has mentored many young musicians in the area. He gives his time and energy to anyone who asks for help in making their music better. He is a great soul and a brilliant guitar player and singer. He makes it all look so easy because he’s a natural.”
In 2013, McKinley was awarded the Kitchener Blues Festival’s Mel Brown Award - named for the legendary Mississippi blues guitarist who came to call Kitchener home in the ’80s. Brown is widely considered the musical spirit for the annual festival, which began in 2001.
For Window on the World, McKinley has put together a band of accomplished local players. With McKinley handling vocal and lead guitar, the group is nicely rounded out with son Darius on electric bass, Ben Rollo on drums and Darryl Romphf on second guitar. The band members are much sought after talents, often performing on stage or in studio for a myriad of other local and touring acts.
McKinley says he’s inspired by his 81-year-old aunt, a long-time dance teacher who he says still dances every day. “She always told me, do your art - no matter what.” For McKinley, the future is wide open.
Window On The World Track List
Freddie King, Jeff Beck Robben Ford, ZZ Top, Frank Zappa
1. Dirty Nails 2:18
2. One a Ponce a Time 4:32
3. Welfare Mama 3:58
4. Stratitude 3:41
5. Cuando Yo Me Voy ( I'm Outta' Here) 3:17
6. Rev It Up 3:18
7. Keep the Door Cracked Open 3:55
8. P-Nutt-Butt-Ah 7:17
9. Life's a Bitch 2:31
10. Cool Night Breeze 3:31
11. Passionate Man 3:42
12. Ontarian Song 6:02