Tell us about yourself and your music
I have been married to Bonnie Swain McKay for 41 years. We have three wonderful children and their spouses whom we also call our children. We have eight super grandchildren and one on the way. I am an attorney in Victoria Texas. I have been a lawyer for 44 years.
Our music represents love for all types of music: Rock, Country, Folk, Folk Rock, and Christian. “Brand New Old School” is the latest release. There will be another EP album or full 10-song album out later this year.
To me, songwriting is about themes and storytelling. The music on “Brand New Old School” was inspired by life and love and loss and all that is involved with those elements of our lives.
Talk to us more about your latest release
“Brand New Old School” has 13 songs. I wrote the music and lyrics for all of them except “You Are My Sunshine” which Bonnie and I covered with our grandchildren. The video of the cover is on YouTube. Al 13 songs were produced at Studio M in San Antonio, Texas. Michael and Ron Morales at Studio M were the producers and did a fantastic job. Bonnie McKay and Michael Morales sing all of the harmonies and I sing the lead vocals. The genres on the album range from Country as in “Hidin’ Out in Texas” to the SKA beat in “You and Jesus”. Each song is designed to have a theme and tell a story.
What inspired you to write this release?
I have played in and with many cover bands with many talented musicians and written songs over the years. The real inspiration for “Brand New Old School” was to write seriously and publish a collection of songs that I thought had merit and would be enjoyed by the listener.
Describe the writing and recording process
Songwriting is s strange thing, as songwriters will tell you. I generally write on the guitar, which is my first instrument, and many times on the piano. Sometimes I start with a group of words (the “story”) and develop the music from there. Other times, I will experiment with a chord progression or melody and the words will come later. Some songs came easily and others were written and re-written.
The recording process starts with a rough scratch track which I develop at home. Then, in person with the producers, primarily with guitars, the songs are played and the meter and transitions, beginnings, and endings are established. Thereafter, a board mix is done and agreed upon and the lead vocals are recorded. Leads and fill are put in with the harmonies. Those semi-finals are changed as needed and when everybody has agreed, you have a final record.
Any plans to release a video?
Any plans to hit the road?
We will be playing again after the COVID 19 crisis allows us to. Date, Times, and venues to be announced.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
We feel the music is new and fresh and hopefully timeless. Where there are distinct themes and stories, we hope they are universal. We like music from different genres and in writing music in multiple genres we feel like the appeal is wider.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Everybody. Chris Stapleton. Mark McGuinn. Marron 5. Bruce Springsteen. Iron and Wine. Many others.
Who are your biggest influences?
For song structure, I have always enjoyed Bob Seeger, The Beatles, and The Eagles.
Lyrically, Harry Chapin was a consummate storyteller and also structured his songs well.
Some of the greatest lyricists were Country or Folk writers like Waylon Jennings and Bob Dylan.
There are hundreds of writers and performers who have influenced how I write and what I write about.
Tell us about your passions
I am passionate about the plight of the homeless and other underprivileged members of our society.
I want the whole world to know Christianity and the love of Jesus Christ.
I am passionate about the health and success of our grandchildren.
What else is happening next in your world?
Musically, writing songs as we speak. Releasing new material later this year. Praying all stay well in this Coronavirus world. Anxious to take “Brand New Old School” and the new music live when the virus will let us.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Robert McKay
Connect with Robert McKay
Website: http://www.robertmckaymusic.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertmckaymusic/?modal=admin_todo_tourInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/robertmckaymusic/Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_kwwDI1FgyyKnSN1y9V8QgDYXu6-932QMk