On September 10th, the stage at Spaceship Earth will be graced with the presence of Red Dirt Royal Mike McClure.
This event is sponsored by local business Josh Hass Insurance.
Mike McClure Looking Up Self-Release
Oklahoma singer songwriter Mike McClure can boast nine previous albums, two decades touring and production credits for numerous acts including Turnpike Troubadours, Jason Boland & The Stragglers and Whiskey Myers. However, it has been anything but plain sailing for him and LOOKING UP is very much a reflection on an industry that poses untold survival challenges, both mentally and physically, on its membership.
This new album reflects on McClure’s lifestyle changes and awakening over the past few years, which has resulted in sobriety, healing and renewed self-esteem. Given its thread, one could expect a self-indulgent and downbeat late-night listen. Instead what’s on offer is a full on, upbeat album brimming with positivity and defiance.
He co-produced the album at his house in Ada, Oklahoma, with his partner Chrislyn Lawrence, who also adds backing vocals on a number of tracks. He sets his stall out in fine style on the feisty I’m Not Broken, welcoming his re-birth (‘I got a little bit burned out but I’m still smoking, yeah I mighta got bent up as the days got spent up, but I am not broken”). Become Someday and album closer Sword and Saddle come across like mid-90’s Steve Earle both in McClure’s vocal delivery and the musical energy that matches it. The powerful Holiday Blown presents a war veteran, unable to function when he returns to normal life and his subsequent addiction. The song came about by way of McClure’s recollection of his grandfather’s return from WW2 and his alcohol dependency, which in hindsight resulted from post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that would have been unrecognised in those times. The track also is a reflection on holidays that went by the wayside due to McClure’s own alcohol issues. The albums tour de force is Orion, a representation of darkness and light, relapse and recovery. It’s a strikingly evocative song with a nod in the direction of Tom Petty.
LOOKING UP finds McClure ridding himself of insecurities and fright and starting a new life with renewed energy and confidence. It’s the beginning of what hopefully will be a happy ending in his life journey and also a compelling listen that you’re well advised to check out.
Review by Declan Culliton