Despite the chaos that it has unleashed in various forms, the global pandemic has been something of a bit of a blessing in disguise for MD McNally. Locked down with nothing else to do, the singer and songwriter fully immersed himself into a creative space that he has not been to in quite some time. The result is The Marvelous, McNally’s debut solo album, coming after a nearly 20-year hiatus away from music.
Long story short, he got the itch again to write and record, cooking up a record with soft, psychedelic ballads, and more traditional heartland rock n’ roll. The new single “Midwestern Day” fits more into the latter category, a classic guitar-driven rocker with a southern, no-nonsense quality to it.
Explaining the origins behind the song, McNally tells us:
“‘Midwestern Day’ is one of the tunes that sort of tumbled out early in the sessions. The music was very much a function of the guitar sound I was getting out of my old 1960 Gibson hollow body. When I laid a couple of ideas over each other, some jangly-tingly harmonics poked out and I just had to go down the rabbit hole.
“As for the theme and lyrics, I got to thinking about the midwestern ethos and how much is lost in the anonymity of our shallow virtual selves. It occurred to me that we’re all better off identifying with our habitats, neighbourhoods, and livelihoods than our political alignments. We pay such a terrible price investing our passions with politicians and pundits. It’s an awful trap that never returns anything close to equal value. Our passion is a beautiful gift of humanity that those selfish fucks constantly manipulate and monopolize for their own base ends.”
You may think it would be hard to find your bearings after such a long time off, but McNally had very little trouble getting back into the rhythm and the challenges of recording. When he began to revisit some acoustic songs that he played around the Austin, Texas club scene around the turn of the century, he had a revelation about why he ended up abandoning those songs all that time ago. He realized that he pushed them aside because he was never able to fully grasp the electric sound he had in mind for them, so he began to rearrange them, using more modern recording techniques. Suddenly everything began to fit into place, and the finished product is a hook-filled collection of songs that feel very refreshing.
McNally has grown as an artist exponentially since leaving these songs behind and has created a highly accessible album for those enamoured with guitar-driven rock.
The Marvelous Track Listing:
1. Midwestern Day
2. The Bright Unknown
3. Back To You, Back To Me
4. The Day She Died
5. Anyone At All
6. To Annascaul, And The Voices Of Pain
7. Hot Minute
8. The Fox Girl
9. You Were A Ghost
11. Wild Eyed Man
13. Wax & Glass
14. The Fringes