Music and memories

music brainThe other day the Counting Crow’s song,”Round Here” came on the radio and it overwhelmed my brain with a memory from the summer of ’93. I was instantly taken back to my friend Shaun’s half-finished basement where we slept on top of sleeping bags (because it was so hot in St. Louis) and left the Counting Crows album on repeat all night. We had also just figured out how to connect multiple speakers and had rounded up as many car speakers and stereo speakers as we could find, probably a dozen in all, creating a primitive surround-sound setup. Not only was the imagery vivid, the general feeling of being thirteen and care-free trumped the reality of working for a living, bills and being an adult.

Sometimes, in the midst of trying to make money from my art, I forget how powerful music is and what inspired me to begin creating it in the first place. Music makes words dance, it turns an empty room into a dance hall, it helps us fall in love and heals us when our heart breaks, it gives us cues for the simple memories we might have otherwise forgotten. It encourages me to know that something I create might someday have this impact on someone else.

I found an article and a website that relate to these thoughts:

“Scientists study how music stirs memories”

a form and sketchpad for a collection of memories tied to songs. I thought this was interesting but couldn’t figure out what they were going to do with it.

If you have a memory tied to a song I’d love to hear it in the comments section below….


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Amanda Ball’s Art Show with music by Allie and Bill Peden

Amanda Ball is an amazing artist and probably the genuinely nicest person you’ll ever meet. I’m not great at describing art but a here are a few words and adjectives that come to mind; folky, ephemeral, nostalgic, found objects, rustic. Her art is something you would see on the walls of the imaginary, perfect, mountain cabin you have in your mind. You can contact her or see more pictures of her art here.

I was supposed to play a few songs at this show but backed out because I have been sick all week…wah.

Bill Peden and his sister Allie were not sick and entertained us with their music. It was tops. You’ll hear them in the video but I still need to say, that 1940’s Martin guitar was perfect for Bill’s bluesy crooning and it’s always a pleasure to here Allie sing, her vocal control always gets me, it’s so perfect.

[ ?posts_id=848983&dest=-1]

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Illegitimate children talk for musicians

I’ve noticed a trend.

When creating a profile for myspace (for music) one will be asked some difficult questions:

What is your primary genre? Who are your influences? What (or who) do you sound like?

Most people can usually tackle the first two questions, but the third question usually brings about the most creative turmoil. This turmoil has brought about a common response in many of the pages I have seen lately. That response goes something like this:

“The illegitimate child of_____” or simply “the love-child of____.”

We (McClain that is) might possibly sound a bit like Ryan Adams. Sometimes we sound like James Taylor. At other points I think we sound accidentally like Damien Rice…I hope that we don’t accidentally sound like Rob Thomas at any point in our music.

Through simply deductive reasoning we can come to the conclusion that all this love-child talk will not work for us when you take into account our “sound.” It is impossible. Physically impossible…Unless you throw in Patty Griffin or something. Then we might have something to work with.

Thank you.


Filed under Uncategorized

Premature blog fame=no fame at all

I spent a good amount of time on some random Sunday emailing music blogs. I felt for some reason like this could be a good way of gaining exposure. The following day we received a cheery email from Arjan Writes (, and Arjan was optimistic about our music. We were excited because his website was listed as one of the top ten music blogs on the web. This was our chance to gain access to other artists, to new fans, to open doors…or so we thought. He ended up featuring us on the homepage of the website in February. The feature can be seen here:

(scroll down the page about half way)

There was “The Bravery” and then there was us. On the SAME featured page. This was it. Finally, a break. 

A week after the post our myspace count went back down below 100, and the “break” was officially over. No labels emailed us, no promoters, no new fans saying “OH MY GOD you are sweet.”  Then we were swept off the homepage into the archives of February, and reality sunk in: Getting on a major music blog is not a way up…and in our case it was not really a way to anywhere at all.

Let the rat race continue….


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

And that’s why you don’t Google yourself!

You’ll go blind! Tonight I was googling myself to see if any blogs had written about my music and I found a review of a show I played a year ago with two great artists; Matthew Perryman Jones and Jeremy Lister. I felt pretty good about the show. Here’s what she thought of me:


“Aron opened the set. (yes, that’s how he spells his name.) He caused me to wonder why in a town with so much talent was he sharing the stage with these 2 other guys. Aron channeled Damien Rice- very moody, whiney songs performed to effects-driven guitar and keyboard. Think Ross from Friends with “his sound” and that’s what Aron reminded me of. Plus, if I wanted to hear a guy sing high like a girl, I’d see Justin Timberlake, and he’d at least be attractive & dancing. For Aron’s last song, he accompanied himself on the ukulele and I fought back laughs. Were we really supposed to take him seriously?”

You can read the rest of her blog here.

I remember a few years ago I was reading a review of Sigur Ros (one of the best bands ever) and the reviewer said the lead singer Jonsi mewed like a dying cat except he used the phrase “terminal resignation” instead of dying.

It’s amazing to me how each individual’s brain and body can react so differently to the same piece of music or sounds.

Justin Timberlake is a pretty handsome guy.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Aaron Roche played a song on my porch

[ ?posts_id=842492&dest=-1]
Aaron Roche stopped by my house tonight to borrow a guitar. Then he played a few songs for Mike Odmark, Amanda Ball and me. He’s one of the most talented people I know and this cell phone video doesn’t do him much justice.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

McClain And The Bear

One day there was this bear. He eats People. He probably ate at least 20 before he met us. We were walking to Nashville from New York, and the Bear jumped out with a bib on thinking he could just eat us on the spot. I hit him in the nose until he cried. Lindsay kicked him in the shins, and after he gave up we asked him for his guitar. He gave it to me. I play that guitar live now. You should see it. There are scratch marks on it and everything. It also says BEAR on the back.

Is this blogging?


Filed under Uncategorized