By Holley Dey for OnTapBlog. Photos by Louise Uznanski and Richard Uznanski.
© 2013 OnTapBlog. All Rights Reserved.
Last week the Jamie McLean Band played seven shows in five days and that included a Sunday evening set at trendy Arlene’s Grocery on the Lower East Side. Fast forward to Monday afternoon and Jamie was on the road again, on the phone again, and sounding a little tired. It’s a grueling schedule, isn’t it? ”Yeah,” he said, “but when I get on stage, I get energy. I feel well, and it’s the only thing I want to be doing.”
It shows; the Band’s commitment to live music performance is clear in every show, reflected in Jamie’s fiery guitar play, in drummer Brian Griffin’s earnest intensity and bass player Ben Mars’ funk-filled, driving groove. When the energy builds, when Ben and Jamie leave separate orbits to collide center stage in an explosion of sound and intentional fury, it’s an electric moment worth revisiting.
The good news is that those moments will soon be available on DVD. The Band’s first live recording session was also videotaped at the Gibson Showroom in New York City. Live at Gibson will be released late summer or fall 2013, with DVD pre-orders to be accepted later this spring. Featuring the Band’s original music and with guest contributions from American Idol winner Taylor Hicks and keys man Jason Crosby, the thirteen music tracks are currently available on CD here. Leading into the DVD release, expect to enjoy teasers with select interview tidbits and behind the scenes footage shared from the Gibson recording session.
Not long after that session, Jamie McLean headed west where he and drummer Brian Griffin joined Taylor Hicks for a 2012 residency at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel, performing rock, blues and country soul five nights weekly to enthusiastic crowds in the Indigo Room. It was a good experience; the band clicked, and Jamie enjoyed the on stage give and take with the Idol winner. His only regret is that he could not interact more with local area musicians. Away from the stage, Jamie spent most days in his hotel room writing new music, with time set aside for golf as well. Some of that music, including new songs “Holding On” and “Virginia”, may be included on a new album planned for the end of this calendar year.
The Band has already laid down tracks in New Orleans with Ivan Neville, Anders Osborne and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band; those tunes are complete and ready to go. Jamie was in studio last month, and will record again in May. He’s in no hurry, though. There’s a DVD to release, touring to do and music to enjoy before the next album drops at the right time, and on the right label.
He’s a musician, but Jamie McLean is also a music fan. He’ll travel to New Orleans for Jazz Fest, where he had planned to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the audience, but will now go face-to-face with the crowd from the stage at Tipitina’s and The Howlin’ Wolf (schedule to be announced). New Orleans is one city where Jamie would readily sign onto a long-term residency. It’s got Las Vegas party, he says, but also has a vibrant culture and a history that are all its own.
The Jamie McLean Band continues on tour this spring with dates in Virginia the first week of April, and with multiple east coast dates planned this summer. The updated tour schedule is here. While these are solo tour dates, Jamie is open to the possibility of touring with another artist following the release of the Band’s next album. He wouldn’t mind breaking some hearts, for example, with Tom Petty. Sounds good; wouldn’t mind runnin’ down that dream when it’s summertime on Main Street. Not at all.
The following photographs were captured at the Jamie McLean Band’s March 30 show at North Star Bar in Philadelphia.
Following Photos by Louise Uznanski
Following Photos by Richard Uznanski