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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label John McKinley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John McKinley. Show all posts

Monday, January 11, 2016

John McKinley - Window On The World - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Window On The World, by John McKinley and it's a driving rocker with solid blues and fusion influence. Opening with instrumental, Dirty Nails, John McKinley rides high on guitar with strong support from Darius McKinley on bass and Ben Rollo on drums. Reminding me a bit of early Dregs this track rips! One A Ponce A Time is tight with a funky jazz beat. Nicely blended vocals by the McKinleys and Rollo and a light footed dance with rapid fire guitar riffs makes this track hot as a baked potato! Straight ahead rocker, Welfare Mama, seems like a natural radio track with a lot of polish and a cool laid back melody. McKinley doesn't let up on the throttle with crisp guitar riffs throughout! Instrumental, Stratitude has a heavy bottom with guitar riffs sounding like twists of Jeff Beck and Steve Vai. Very cool! Cuando Yo Me Voy (I'm Outta' Here), has a hot salsa feel with excellent drum rhythms and scorching guitar riffs played over a combination of Spanish and English vocals. Excellent! Rev It Up is a solid rocker with a mix of acoustic and electric guitar riffs pushing it along. Keep The Door Cracked Open has a solid bass riff played against a chicken pickin guitar riff for some light fun. P-Nutt-Butt-Ah is a smooth slow blues number with warm guitar chords and outrageous tone swell and synthesized guitar riffs over interesting bass and drum riffs making it my choice for the release. Very nice! Tight boogie, Life's A Bitch, has a great walking bass line, slick guitar riffs and clever lyrics that should make it a solid crowd pleaser. Cool Night Breeze is an easy going shuffle with clean slide guitar work. Lead vocals on this track have an interesting quality warmed up by choir like backing vocals and "twisted" guitar work make this a definite standout track. Passionate Man has a simple pop feel, along the lines of Elvis Costello with cool bass lines and a solid guitar solo that adds a bluesy texture. Wrapping the release is Ontarian Song, a bright, instrumental track beginning with solid acoustic guitar work, bringing feelings of Leo Kottke. Slowly building with electric guitar, bass and drums and then backing down to a quiet vocal, this is a very nice conclusion to a very strong release.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Guitarist John McKinley releases debut recording Window On The World

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