Video Premiere: Noel McKay “A World Without Humans”

Photo credit: Noel McKay

There’s a clear, direct message in the latest single from singer-songwriter Noel McKay.  ‘A World Without Humans’ is about just that – a future in which the age of humanity is over thanks to our own recklessness and drive for technological progress.  McKay’s words should give us all pause: “And a world without humans is bound to arrive // As we ruin the very things that keep us alive.”  That sense of inevitability is there throughout.  Over his warm, finger-picked acoustic guitar, McKay’s voice is smooth and resonant, with engaging depths and a purity that matches the song.  The accompanying video features footage of the Redwood Forest, California, where it was shot.  These impressive trees are a perfect backdrop for the song’s subject-matter, representing the passage of time and the permanence of the natural world.

McKay explains the song’s background: “Written on January 1st, 2013, between Texarkana and Little Rock, Arkansas, driving up Interstate 30 in a U-Haul moving truck from Austin to Nashville.  I think of this form as skating on a mirror. The first line of the verse will be reflected back, with a rhyme set up to complete itself, setting up that same first line as the last line. When I got to Nashville, I played it for my friend Brooks West, who’s a great songwriter. With an unironic sentimentality, his reaction was, ‘Aw, We’re going extinct.'”

The single is from ‘You Only Live Always’, McKay’s new album, which is due out on 3rd May 2024.  He says of the new songs: “These are the stage backdrops I’m building for the stories I’m wanting to tell myself as a means of self-comfort.”  The album’s themes include universal impressions of life and loss, influenced by the death of McKay’s mother.  He approaches these subjects thoughtfully and sensitively, saying: “This record is me reckoning with mortality and infinity, not so much as it applies to popular spirituality but instead, the infinite nature of the cosmos and the indestructible nature of matter itself. These are the very building blocks of life and death. I hope you find some comfort or at least amusement from it.”

From Lubbock and the Hill Country of Texas where McKay was raised, he has travelled the world, performing in California and Nashville, Spain and the UK.  Along the way, he has written songs with the likes of David Olney and Guy Clark and released three solo albums, beginning with 2015’s ‘Is That So Much to Ask’.  Check this out – thoughtful stuff.

About Andrew Frolish 1453 Articles
From up north but now hiding in rural Suffolk. An insomniac music-lover. Love discovering new music to get lost in - country, singer-songwriters, Americana, rock...whatever. Currently enjoying Nils Lofgren, Ferris & Sylvester, Tommy Prine, Jarrod Dickenson, William Prince, Frank Turner, Our Man in the Field...
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