Chi McClean was born and raised in New York before heading out to California in a beat up truck looking for a change. Settling in San Francisco, he began to develop an honest, introspective approach to his songwriting that ultimately formed the building blocks for his debut release, "Something Out There", his second, solo-acoustic release, "A Thing Or Three", and his brand new, full-band album, "Let Me In", released on January 22nd, 2016 at The Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA with an official, industry showcase and live-broadcast performance for Acoustic Guitar Magazine.
Currently based in Nashville, Tennessee, Chi writes acoustic rock songs marked by a haunting southern style. Many of his songs take a straightforward look at love, loss, and in the end, opportunity. Influenced by Jimi Hendrix, The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, Free, The Faces, The Allman Brothers, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Chi’s music borrows from the timeless tones and song structures that formed the pillars of the classic rock scene while presenting listeners with a contemporary and wholly unique perspective.
"Something Out There", Chi’s debut album released in 2009, was recorded in San Francisco, CA at Flying Kitchen and in Sausalito, CA at Studio D by Boone Spooner, mixed in Los Angeles, CA by Kevin Shirley (The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, Joe Bonamassa) at The Document Room, and mastered in New York, NY by Ryan Smith (James Taylor, Joe Bonamassa, O.A.R.) at Sterling Sound. The album is often described as melodic and soulful, drawing on heartfelt guitar themes, driving drum beats, colorful bass lines, and gritty layers of Hammond B-3 organ and vintage electric pianos. Since the release of "Something Out There", Chi McClean has won a number of songwriting and performance awards for his music and has received critical acclaim from a variety of publications including the San Francisco Chronicle.
Chi’s second release, "A Thing Or Three", is a live, in-studio, solo-acoustic recording that delivers the feeling of an intimate, living room performance. Recorded by Grammy nominated engineer and producer Cookie Marenco (Tony Furtado, Kelly Joe Phelps) at OTR Studios in Belmont, CA in a live, Extended Sound Environment (ESE) without the use of headphones, auto tune, or a metronome to Direct Stream Digital (DSD), "A Thing Or Three" captures the authentic, full dynamic range of Chi’s live performance at the highest audio fidelity possible. Officially released to fans at Café du Nord in San Francisco, California on Thursday, March 8th, 2012, "A Thing Or Three" has been making waves with acoustic music lovers and audiophiles worldwide.
Chi’s brand new, full-band release, "Let Me In", which is now available online via all major retailers, is the fully realized sound that Chi has been chasing since he first picked up a guitar. The album features eight original tracks recorded by Grammy nominated engineer Andrija Tokic (The Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff) at The Bomb Shelter Studio in Nashville, TN; and Grammy winning engineers Richie Biggs (The Civil Wars, The Lone Bellow, Holly Williams, Switchfoot) at The Chapel in Nashville, TN and Sam Ashworth (The Civil Wars, The Lone Bellow, Holly Williams, Switchfoot) at The Art House in Nashville, TN. Additional tracking was done by Hauk Heimdallsman and Michael Shubin at The Nest in Los Angeles, CA. The album was mixed by Richie Biggs (The Civil Wars, The Lone Bellow, Holly Williams, Switchfoot) at The Chapel in Nashville, TN and mastered by Grammy winning engineer Richard Dodd (Tom Petty, Jason Aldean, Wilco, Roy Orbison, George Harrison) at Richard Dodd Studios in Nashville, TN. Capturing a classic sound akin to the Laurel Canyon california country scene, mostly to 2″ analog tape, this new collection of songs brings an entirely new energy to Chi’s writing with the help of some local, Nashville, TN players including Audley Freed on electric guitar (Sheryl Crow, The Black Crowes, Peter Frampton), Robert Kearns on bass guitar (Sheryl Crow, Lynyrd Skynyrd), Jimmy Wallace on keyboards (The Wallflowers, Kenny Wayne Shepherd), Jeff “Shakey” Fowlkes on drums and percussion (Kid Rock), Rob Ickes on dobro (Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard), Joe Spivey on mandolin, banjo and fiddle (Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Jr., Kris Kristofferson), The McCrary Sisters on background vocals (Eric Church, Jonny Lang, Robert Randolph), and Sam Ashworth on background vocals (The Civil Wars, The Lone Bellow, Holly Williams, Switchfoot); from Los Angeles, CA, Kitten Kuroi contributed to additional background vocals (Natasha Bedingfield). Even before it’s official release, "Let Me In", had already received critical acclaim at select radio stations and had been chosen as a featured, new release on Amazon Music for the week of the album release.
Chi is actively playing shows to promote "Something Out There", "A Thing Or Three", and his newest release, "Let Me In", and has performed live on several television and radio broadcasts including a live, in-studio performance on the nationally televised CBS program The Early Show. In addition, Chi’s music is currently featured on Virgin America’s in-flight entertainment system for all national flights throughout the United States and is available on Amazon Music, iTunes, CD Baby, Spotify, and Pandora internet radio. Chi has also enjoyed several recent placements of three of his songs, co-written with friend, songwriter, and producer, Adam Zelkind, on the hit television series from The CW, “Hart of Dixie”. In between an average of 150 to 200 performances each year, Chi is already hard at work compiling a new collection of songs for an upcoming project scheduled for release later in 2016.
For performance dates or to listen, watch, and learn more, visit www.chimcclean.com.
Chi proudly plays Taylor Guitars, Deering Banjos, and Elixir Strings.