LIVESTREAM: Arlo McKinley Live From HI-FI Annex
Live From HI-FI Annex
Streaming Ticket: $10
- Streaming Ticket
Save Our Stages Ticket: $15
- Streaming Ticket
- $2.50 donation to NIVA’s Save Our Stages
- $2.50 donation to Indiana Venue Alliance
Looking for a ticket to the in-person show at HI-FI Annex? Get tickets here.
About Arlo McKinley
Coming out of the eclectic Cincinnati music scene that has produced everyone from The National and Walk the Moon to Bootsy Collins, Arlo McKinley has washed his songs in the blood of street soul, country, punk and gospel – and tattooed them onto the underground. Filled with a weight, honesty and gritty-hope from rustbelt city life, McKinley rolled downriver to Memphis to Sun Studio where Grammy Award-winning producer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Prine) gathered a working man’s all-star band to record his Oh Boy Records debut, “Die Midwestern.”
McKinley’s 10 original songs bleed truth and emotion from a heart scarred by wild nights and redeemed by Sunday morning confessions. “She’s Always Around,” “Suicidal Saturday Night,” “Bag of Pills” and “Ghost” – a song he wrote in a funeral home parking lot after carrying the coffin of his best friend – are all songs carved out in the key of life.
In “Ghost” McKinley pours out the pain of his personal loss. “It felt too real to be a dream/We were getting high on gasoline/sitting on the banks where the river bends/and we laughed and danced and sang and we talked about everything/Sitting here with the ghost of my best friend.”
On “Bag of Pills,” McKinley testifies from the shadows of the night … “All I need now, I don’t want/All I loved now, it’s all gone to my head/Tell Jesus, Can you save me?/Didn’t think so – guess you’re too busy/I guess we’re all too busy.” In the hope filled “Once Again,” McKinley leaves an open door to find hope and love again. “My heart is rusting/I’ve been broken/I’ve been busted/but if you tell me I can trust it/Maybe this heart can love once again.”
Shaped in equal parts by the raw honesty of his raising in the church and punk teenage years, McKinley said that thread still runs so true in the open honesty of his songwriting.
“I am telling my truth and that is it and hopefully it relates to people,” McKinley says of the songs on “Die Midwestern. “I know some musicians write story songs about other things, but I can’t be that musician. I have to write about my experience. ‘Ghost (Of My Best Friend’), I was at Patrick’s funeral and we all left. I sang at the funeral and I am sitting in the car and was crying and wrote ‘Ghost.’ That was the moment and I was in it.”
Like a musical brethren of Lucero, McKinley has been making a name for himself around the country in that unassuming, blue-collar way – humbly stacking piles of soulful songs that hurt so real and so good. Along the way, he has shared stages with kindred musical spirits John Moreland, Jason Isbell, Justin Townes Earle, and contemporary rising singer/songwriters Tyler Childers, Ian Noe and Colter Wall.
McKinley says he hopes when people spin “Die Midwestern” that it churns up emotions even if the songs mean something different to other people.
“I hope they walk away knowing they saw someone who is telling their raw, honest story,” McKinley says. “I gave them that emotion and I don’t want anybody to be neutral about it. I’d rather you walk out and say you hate it. It is a wild thing to play your songs, it is like time freezes for a moment and everybody listens. Hopefully, they walk out from a show knowing they are not the only ones feeling the way they are feeling.”