NEW YORK -- October 8, 2021 --
Three decades after Noel McKay was discovered by legendary songwriter Guy Clark, his ability to write the kinds of smart, insightful and sometimes slyly humorous songs that initially caught Clark’s attention remains the cornerstone of the music he makes to this day. His new album, Blue, Blue, Blue, out today, centers around longing: whether it’s longing the experiences of a lost relationship, longing to undo unwise decisions, longing for the way one’s home city was, longing to travel, longing to have one’s story told.
“There is a noticeable tenderness embedded in many of the tracks…the album recalls the work of the classic singer songwriters that have prompted McKay’s three-decade career.”
- Lonesome Highway
Blue, Blue, Blue is more straightforward and light than McKay’s past collections. Album opener “The 50 Loneliest Places in the Nation” was inspired by a dream McKay had and then promptly recorded into a voice memo — in the dream he was scrolling through the internet and stumbled upon a clickbait article with the same focus, and before he knew it, Roger Miller was singing the dream-chorus.
The title track is a candid breakup song, much of the inspiration for which comes from personal experience, though there’s a bit of creative license taken. “Somebody, Someway, Somewhere” chronicles the experience of living somewhere a previous partner may have also lived in not so long ago, and “Sleeping In My Car” is about a brief period when McKay was often sleeping in the backseat of his 1998 Chevy Cheyenne in various parking lots around the Austin area.
“Flying And Falling” was written with Guy Clark, who also recorded a song the pair co-wrote (“El Coyote”) for his Grammy-winning album, My Favorite Picture of You. McKay also notes a guitar the two built together is featured prominently on the album.
“It turns out that crafting and performing memorable songs wasn’t the only significant thing the late Guy Clark did for the music world: he also discovered Texas singer/songwriter Noel McKay, whose latest album comes loaded with deft, humor-tinged lyrics, spare instrumentation, and country/folk melodies that make clear why Clark apparently considered him a kindred spirit.” - Americana Highways
“Real Cowboy,” written with Brennen Leigh, with whom he also shares the duo McKay and Leigh, was composed during one of their trips from Nashville to Austin, where they each built a loyal following in the years they lived there. “Lurlene,” co-written with Becky Warren, is about McKay’s grandmother and a later-in-life job she procured. He notes she’s 96 and “still as awesome as ever.”
“Get A Bag Of Ice” and “Pawnee Waltz” both center around a bit of Texas homesickness; “When This Town Was Cool” tells the story of the proverbial “remember when” resident. Things were always better when they first moved to town. Sometimes the refrain sounds familiar.
Album closer “You Oughta Write A Song About That” recalls the song ideas well-meaning listeners mention after a show.
“I play music because it’s my way of expressing my reality, even when I’m looking at someone else’s and writing about that,” McKay says. “It’s a way to express joy, anguish, and the emotions in between.”
Blue, Blue, Blue Track Listing:
1. The 50 Loneliest Places in the Nation
2. Sleeping in My Car
3. Flying and Falling
4. Real Cowboy
5. Open All Night
6. Blue, Blue, Blue
7. Somebody, Someway, Somewhere
9. Get A Bag of Ice
10. Pawnee Waltz
11. When This Town Was Cool
12. You Oughta Write A Song About That