Here is ‘Paperback Novels’, the latest single from the Nashville-based Jason Lee McKinney Band. Over gently rhythmic backing from the band, Jason demonstrates excellent vocal prowess in an impassioned performance full of range and stylistic changes. His voice carries us through his thoughtful, metaphorical musings on life: “We’re all paperback novels // Here today and gone tomorrow…we get dog-eared and tattered // But each with a story of their own.” There’s some wonderfully warm guitar work and the song closes with a gorgeous solo, full of slide and soaring notes. Jason describes the song: “Musically this song might be the most nuanced in our entire catalogue. ‘Paperback Novels’ is part blues, part Americana, and part RnB but done in a way that it is hard to isolate the distinctiveness of each style. Lyrically I lean into the metaphor pretty hard, but I think it serves the song well. Like the Byrds did in ‘Turn Turn Turn’, this song directly quotes the book Ecclesiastes. Primarily from chapter 1 and all its talk about the random and meaninglessness of much of life. Just like Ecclesiastes it does not end with that hopeless feeling but rather asserts meaning is found in the simple.”
‘Paperback Novels’ is taken from the the band’s eleventh album ‘One Last Thing’, on which the band is supported by a gospel choir for the first time. The band’s music has always been a blend of various genres, including southern rock, country, folk, R&B and blues. However, this evolution of their sound matches the spiritual, life-affirming nature of the new songs. Jason, who wrote all sixteen of the album’s songs, explains: “‘One Last Thing’ brings out an overtone that has always been an undertone in our music in that it is drenched in gospel. On this album, we brought both the musical style and the message of the gospel to the foreground. That vibe was always part of our foundation, but now it’s front and centre. It really didn’t happen through some master plan, but rather organically. Between the political climate, the pandemic, and the general nihilistic dissent of community, we found ourselves drawn to hope. Gospel music and the message it represents resonate that feeling.” We all need a dose of optimism and hope at the moment. You’ll find it here.
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