“He Broke The Chains For Me and You”

Posted by Payton | Posted in gospel, holiday | Posted on 04-04-2010

Tagged Under :

I think I post this every year, but it’s worth the attention. Such a moving song, such a moving story.  Happy Easter to all of you.

On the third day He had risen
Just like He said He’d do
Hell would not become His prison
He broke the chains for me and you

In a crown of thorns
They hung my Lord
They pierced his body
With a soldier’s sword
He forgave them and that spirit
Brings me to my knees
For the One that they hung
Between two thieves

Then He went to His disciples
They put their hands in the nail scarred hand
And to those who had been doubting
They felt the power of God’s plan

Mike McClure - Between Two Thieves
buy Twelve Pieces (2002) [CD][mp3]

Twelve Pieces is a truly great solo debut from Mike McClure. It was clear when this was released 8 years ago that Mike was not meant to front a ‘country’ band forever.  This album ushered in what has proven to be an impressive career from a gifted songwriter and musician. I began a Mike McClure Spotlight some time ago and now have two new albums that need to be appended to it. Here’s to hoping that Mike finds the time to record another mostly-acoustic album like this gem.

"For the One they hung bewtween two thieves"

Posted by Payton | Posted in holiday | Posted on 04-12-2009

Tagged Under :

Mike McClure – Between Two Thieves
purchase Twelve Pieces (2002)iTunes $7.99

Boo………. Boohatch

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, album release | Posted on 03-11-2009

Tagged Under :


This Mornin’… favorite Mike McClure has been busy recording music lately. Both for himself and for other bands.

Mike has made available a Boohatch Records Sampler. The disc includes songs from some of his recent productions including: Jessey Thompson, Shut Down Town, Fat Dixie, Willie Stradlin’, and Little Ray. Also featured on the set are two songs from Mike himself. The new rocker, Deviants, and a re-imagined Great Divide tune, Nowhere Woman. The decision to re-record this epic tune came after a cry of popular demand in the comments of his always entertaining MySpace blog.

Purchase Boohatch: Choppy Thingy at CdBaby.com

A few weeks ago, Mike stumbled upon a batch of lost copies of his first self-production: The Great Divide & Friends – Dirt & Sprit. This inspiring gospel collection features five songs from Mike (and/or The Great Divide) as well as a few from some other Oklahoma favorites: Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland, The Red Dirt Rangers, Susan Gibson, and Stoney LaRue.

Those copies look to be sold out now, so sorry for the late heads-up. Here’s a couple of the uplifting tunes:

The Great Divide – Angels Over Me
Susan Gibson & Mike McClure – Hung Down Head

Stream some more recent recordings on Mike’s MySpace page.

"someday i’m gonna get it straight, or somebody’s gonna straighten me out…"

Posted by Payton | Posted in one liner | Posted on 10-14-2008

Tagged Under :

Mike McClure Band – Skies Are Turning Red
buy Everything Upside Down (2004)

19 tracks of Red Dirt Goodness. Just Buy It.

Artist Spotlight: Mike McClure (part 3)

Posted by Payton | Posted in album review, artist spotlight | Posted on 06-05-2008

Tagged Under : ,

Part 1 ~ Part 2

The time between Camelot Falling and Mike’s McClure’s next album, Foam, (nearly 2 years) was time well spent. Now very comfortable at the production reins and with no label to answer to, Mike was able to take his time and carefully piece together a new record.

Feeling the need to spend more time with his wife and two daughters, he converted a room of his home in Ada, OK into a personal studio. ‘The Library’, as he calls it, is a place where Mike can go to goof off (being an avid reader of his rambles, i know he does this a lot), get away, or simply lay down some vocal tracks, guitar licks, or pieces of ideas for songs. He began to spend less time at the Dirtybird Recording studios and devised a plan for sending his recordings electronically to other folks, having them tweaked, and getting them back. One of these ‘other folks’ was legendary engineer Joe Hardy. Mike began sending Joe his vocal tracks and they would come back perfected with slight effects that seemed to only accentuate Mike’s style.

The bulk of Foam, however, was recorded in Houston, TX at The Foam Room – Billy Gibbons’ (ZZ Top) famed recording studio. Mike, being a sucker for 80’s rock, was just a little excited to be working in such a storied studio. This excitement translated into inspiration that came through on the record. Foam is highlighted by some of the finest guitar work Mike has a ever put together – with just a touch of that classic ZZ Top swagger.

Foam
November 2006

mp3: Mike McClure Band – I Know
mp3: Mike McClure Band – Saints In The Twilight
mp3: Mike McClure Band – Belly of the Beast

Foam is 10 tracks of superb production. If the beginnings or ends of some of the songs sound funny, that’s because the CD rolls continuously throughout without track breaks. I Know is track 1 and Saints is track 2, so check ‘em out back to back. Mike resurrected yet another Great Divide song here with Floods. Although released back in 2000, it’s one of Mike’s best writing achievements to date. Personally, i prefer the theatrical feel of the original recording of the song – it has a long intro of sounds of rain that Mike recalls recording into a tape player while standing on the porch of the Will Rogers Theatre where the band’s Afterglow was recorded.

The album is the first to feature the new three piece MMB – Mike and drummer Eric Hanson dropped their lead guitarist (Mike took over the duties) and hired a new bass player. Tom Skinner had been milling around the Red Dirt scene since its inception. He and Mike met at ‘The Farm’ – an old farmhouse that served as a haven for many Oklahoma songwriters, young and old. Skinner penned the song Used To Be (recorded by The Great Divide) that has become the unofficial anthem of Red Dirt music. His impeccable timing and upper-range tenor perfectly complement Mike’s fine-grained gravel voice.

did7
May 2008

mp3: Mike McClure Band – Like An Idiot
mp3: Mike McClure Band – The Eagle and the Crow

Mike’s most recent album, did7 (don’t ask me what it means….), was just released on May 6. i feel like, on this one, Mike held back on the Rock N Roll, and put together a record with impeccable writing. Sometimes the lines are simple, but sometimes simple works just fine.

“guess i should start at the top/seems like a logical place.”
“let me dance like an idiot for you/you laugh, you laugh/yeah you always do.”

While preparing for this record, doctors found a tumor in Mike’s daughter Marleigh. Possibly due to Mike’s heavy spiritual side, the tumor was removed and all is well. The constant hopeful demeanor she maintained throughout the ordeal is expressed in Little Sister Sunshine.

little sister standin’ in the sunshine laughin’/reminds me it ain’t no good to be sad/little sister runnin’ through the backyard yellin’/yellin’ at big sister and your dad.”

Mike’s ability to take a simple metaphor and expand it into an entire song is one the most characteristic and impressive traits he possesses. Wildflower, Comin’ Up Crows, and Break in the Storm are just a couple of examples of this style from back in The Great Divide days. He continues to show his narrative talent in his solo career with songs like Wicked Game of Hearts, Via Dolorosa, Jack of Diamonds, Open My Door, and on did7, The Eagle and the Crow.

————————————————————

Mike has absolutely nothing more to prove to be considered one of the most influential and prolific writers in the Texas/Red Dirt scene, yet he continues to put out records that simply amaze me. It still confounds me that his name hasn’t spread throughout wider circles in the alt-country world (and that i’m the only one that can be found on The Hype talking about him). Maybe his day will come; and, until then, i’ll do my best to spread the good word.

Get Mike’s music straight from him:

Artist Spotlight: Mike McClure (part 2)

Posted by Payton | Posted in album review, artist spotlight | Posted on 05-15-2008

Tagged Under : ,

Check out Part 1

Since leaving The Great Divide, Mike McClure has focused not only on his solo career, but also his work in the studio – as producer and engineer. In 2004, Mike teamed up with fellow Okie musician Travis Linville and invested in a recording studio in Norman, OK – Dirtybird Recording. (Travis, whom i’ve been meaning to mention here recently, fronted The Burtschi Brothers and is currently promoting his new solo acoustic album See You Around). Mike’s reputation as a producer preceded him, and the studio was immediately booked solid. When the two finally found time to record some of their own stuff, they knew just how to go about it – a collaborative album. And McBurtschi was born:

The Burtschi Brothers & The Mike McClure Band
December 2004

mp3: Mike McClure Band – Queen of the Midnight
mp3: Mike McClure Band – Lost In The Dream

The two bands split time on this disc. Mike’s selections for the album show his versatility – a couple acoustic laments, a couple rockers, a gospel tune, and then something new just to throw you off – Lost In The Dream. This groovy tune showcases his unique guitar stylings and is unlike anything i had heard from Mike before – i feel like putting on jazzy suit and struttin’ down the sidewalk when i hear it.

Camelot Falling
September 2005

mp3: Mike McClure Band – Don’t Fear To Tread
mp3: Mike McClure Band – Remain

Working with another artist who has his hands in all aspects of music, Keith Sykes, Mike took off to Memphis, TN to record Camelot Falling. i’m also currently reviewing the catalog of Ryan Adams, and in addition to having different styles, the two musicians also have differing approaches to making albums. While Ryan has a unique mode, or even genre, per album, Mike perfectly intertwines all of his muses for one album. On this record, Mike chose to pay homage to a couple of his musical heroes by doing some covers. i posted and talked about his cover of Van Morrison’s Into the Mystic here, and his rendition of Neil Young’s Roll Another Number is an album highlight. Mike’s faith plays a huge role in his music, as he is always sure to include some sort of gospel tune. Traveler (posted here) tells of a battered soul asking for complete forgiveness by putting himself at the mercy of his Lord. The record is topped off with a resurrected Great Divide song. The title cut off his last record with the band, Remain is a hopeful song that… remains one of Mike’s best works to date.

—————————————–

Continue on to part 3……

Get Mike’s music straight from him:

Artist Spotlight: Mike McClure (part 1)

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, artist spotlight | Posted on 05-12-2008

Tagged Under : ,

Sometimes the full breadth of a great artist’s talent isn’t recognized until their demise. Of course there are/were people along the way that fully understood the presence they were in. i’m here today to make sure that doesn’t happen with Mike McClure. In my circle of friends, as well as in the right circles within the Texas Music/Red Dirt scene, Mike is considered a genre pioneer, a captivating songwriter, an inventive guitarist, and hopefully soon enough – a legend.

Mike honed his musical chops with the successful Stillwater, OK band The Great Divide. Formed in ‘93, Mike and band began releasing albums independently before signing with a couple major labels. Citing lack of effort and enthusiasm from the both Atlantic and Broken Bow, The Great Divide released their final album with Mike as the frontman independently.

Possibly a little bitter from label troubles (as well as bandmate problems), Mike decided to leave the band in ‘02 and embark on a solo career. Since releasing his solo debut, Twelve Pieces, in July of ‘02, Mike has formed a band (with a couple lineup changes along the way) that – just last week – released its 5th record. The Mike McClure Band has released all these albums independently – and this could help explain Mike’s lack of exposure – but for now, i’m okay with that. i know how great he is and i don’t have to fight the masses…..

You can add talented producer to Mike’s list of accolades as well. Not only has he produced everything with his name on it, he holds the production credits on a number of Texas/Oklahoma band’s discs as well. He began by helping to produce Cross Canadian Ragweed’s second album, Highway 377, in ‘01 with fellow Great Divide member J.J. Lester. Ragweed has called on Mike’s personal touch for all four of their subsequent albums. Some other names Mike has produced records for include: Stoney LaRue, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, and The Dedringers.

So, there’s my attempt at a bio – i’ll get a little more in-depth with each album as i get to it. This is lookin’ like it’ll end up being longer than i expected, so i’ll break it up into a few parts.

don’t be a jackass – go here and buy
these albums. iTunes
has a couple, too, if that’s your thing.

To start off, here’s a couple good songs from The Great Divide to show where he’s coming from:

mp3: The Great Divide – Nowhere Woman ~ from Revolutions (1999)
mp3: The Great Divide – Fly On ~ from Remain (2002)
After Mike’s departure, The Great Divide attempted to continue with a new lead singer – to no avail. When you lose your frontman, songwriter, and lead guitarist – you’re pretty much done.

Twelve Pieces
July 2002

mp3: Mike McClure – Driftin’

My most prized album of his, this mainly acoustic disc (one song featuring Cody Canada of Cross Canadian Ragweed is a screamin’ electric tune) shows that sometimes simple is the best way to go. Stripped down and bearing his soul like never before, Mike shows the world (ok, maybe just Oklahoma and Texas) that he has arrived as a solo artist. The majority of these songs were ones that Mike had floating around that either didn’t fit with his former band, or he was unwilling to give up to them. Some about self-doubt, some about self-improvement, some gospel…..
all perfectly written.

if you’re gonna start somewhere, start here………


Everything Upside Down
April 2004

mp3: Mike McClure Band – Open My Door
mp3: Mike McClure Band – Just Not Good Enough

Never one to be pigeon-holed or genrized, Mike followed his acoustic debut with a full on, guitar soaked rock album – the debut of the MMB. At 19 tracks, he decided to put out three 4 song EP’s in the months prior to the full album release. Fitting the rock & roll motif, these EP’s were simply titled ‘gun’, ‘brass knuckles’, and ‘throwing star’, and helped to fund the entire recording process. Just Not Good Enough is a song written about the troubles that led to Mike leaving The Great Divide. If you saw my last Instrumental Interlude post, i posted another track from this album that’s the intro to Open My Door. Get ‘em both and listen to them together….

Perfectly spaced between the ROCK are few slower, ballad-ish songs. Check out She Gets To You, Lay Your Head Down, and Moon Is Almost Full – definitely one of Mike’s most image-inducing writing efforts – but i’ll talk more about that one later…………


If you like what you’ve heard, check out
The Gospel According to Mike
a entirely Mike McClure gospel post…..

Go To Part 2 —————->

Instrumental Interlude…….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, instrumental interlude | Posted on 05-04-2008

Tagged Under : ,

Ah, after a couple grueling weeks, i finally get to sit back and relax for a night. And there’s no better way to do that than with some easy listening – not the genre – but the true definition of easy listening - pure instrumental music.

i haven’t done one of these since my first week of blogging. i was listening to Cold Roses today, and thought to myself that i would dig that album just as much had it been completely instrumental. That’s not to say that Ryan’s lyrics aren’t as impressive as a two-ton anvil – they are – but The Cardinals are simply as tight a band as i’ve ever heard. With Cold Roses, specifically, each and every song pops through the speakers with that inital lick from Ryan, J.P. Bowersock, or Cindy Cashdollar. An amazing album – i can’t wait to get to it on my Ryan Adams Spotlight, but that’s for another day.

So, i came home and dug through my instrumental tunes and came up with these for you today. i’ve got a strictly bluegrass instrumental playlist as well as a general one – there’s a couple from both.

mp3: Cory Morrow – Sunday Drivin’

mp3: Adrienne Young – Happy Ending
buy Room To Grow (2007)

mp3: Reckless Kelly – Wicked Twisted Road (reprise)

mp3: South Austin Jug Band – Po Boys In The Glovebox

mp3: Mike McClure Band – Intro (Mis Llaves)
If this song feels like it leaves you hangin’ – that’s because it’s an intro that leads straight into another song on Everything Upside Down. I promise not to make you wait for too long – i’ll get that Mike McClure profile done soon – and that song will definately be on it. By the way, it’s called ‘Open My Door’ – pretty clever intro title, if you ask me……. (**edit – Part 1 of the Mike McClure Artist Spotlight is up)

—————————————————–
the song links are dead, but you can check out my first Instrumental Interlude here.

Cover/Uncovered: Mike McClure…..

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, cover/uncovered | Posted on 04-26-2008

Tagged Under : ,

i keep putting off that Artist Spotlight i’ve been planning for Mike McClure, but to get some more of his music out to you guys, i’ll highlight a couple of covers he regularly does. Both are covers of legendary artists and show both ends of the spectrum of Mike’s style.

i consider Mike one the best songwriters around today. This may come as a surprise to some of you, only because you’ve never heard of him. But i’ve known about his poetic way with words since about ‘98 – back with The Great Divide. I didn’t realize the genious in him until his first solo effort, Twelve Pieces, came out in ‘02. People who are great songwriters (and often know they are) normally have a hard time doing cover songs – if they do, they choose very wisely. That’s exactly the case here with Mike. From the multitude of McClure bootlegs i’ve come across, i know he’s a huge fan of Van Morrison. He finally put a cover of a Van song on an album with Into The Mystic on Camelot Falling:

Cover: Mike McClure Band – Into The Mystic

Mike (and band) stay very true to Van The Man’s version with this cover – from the acoustic intro, to the unmistakable bassline, and even the heartfelt vocals when the chorus builds. A perfect example of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Uncovered: Van Morrison – Into The Mystic <------ copyright issues...
buy Moondance (1970)
—————————————————

Most of the tracks i’ve posted from Mike show his singer-songwriter side, but if you have ever caught a concert of his, you know that’s not all there is. Mike is a dork for 80’s rock and when he plays live, he lets that kid in him that always dreamed of being in a hair-metal band come out – extended solos and amped up guitars. Mike was the frontman as well as lead guitarist for The Great Divide. When he first formed The Mike McClure Band in ‘03, he employed the help of lead-guitarist Rodney Pyeatt (former member of Selena’s band). This bootleg is from a show when Pyeatt was still with the band, but Mike eventually felt the need to rip up solo’s on his own again. The Mike McClure Band is currently a 3-piece (Mike, bassist Tom Skinner, and Eric Hansen on drums).

Cover: Mike McClure Band – Rockin’ In The Free World (live)
A staple of his live (full band) shows, Mike gives Rockin’ In The Free World a little twist both musically and by throwing in some slightly altered lines of his own.

i was gonna write this post on time, but…..

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 04-21-2008

Tagged Under : , , , , , , , ,

i meant to get this posted yesterday (sunday), but i’m still awake, so it’s still Arpil 20th to me.
No further explanation is needed. Enjoy some tunes….

first, to set the mood:

mp3: Foghat – Slow Ride ~ from Fool For The City (1975)
i know it’s a little cliché, but it just feels right….
mp3: The Black Crowes – Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye ~ from The Southern Harmony… (1992)
mp3: The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter ~ from Let It Bleed (1969)
mp3: Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Cold Roses (live) ~ from The Loft Sessions (2005)
mp3: Bob Marley – Stir It Up
—————————————————————————————
the mix:
mp3: Cross Canadian Ragweed – Mother Freedom Song (live)
mp3: Mike McClure – Put In Bay (acoustic)
mp3: Reckless Kelly – Wiggles & Ritalin ~ from Reckless Kelly Was Here (2006)
mp3: Brandon Jenkins – Gideon’s Bible (live)
mp3: Band of Horses – Weed Party ~ from Everything All The Time (2006)
mp3: Old 97’s – Smokers ~ from Drag It Up (2004)
mp3: Guy Clark – Worry Be Gone ~ from Workbench Songs (2006)