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Five hours from the nearest Interstate in a remote wilderness... He began these recordings during a winter feeling defeated from a lack of direction, reeling from a withering relationship and the recent passing of my father. It was there that He began crafting songs in a hunter’s cabin in the Vallecito Lake region nestled up against the vast Weminuche Wilderness of South Western Colorado. This is where the initial 10 songs of 1969 Gypsy were humbly recorded on a Roland VS-880. The electricity was unreliable, the cabin lacked modern insulation, but the experience was truly transformational. He could make music... alone. Ironically, that demo set me on a winding road of bands, band names, cities and dimly lit night-clubs that ends here with this compilation. Hundreds of songs, dozens of bands and a myriad of gigs later, 1969 Gypsy marks the departure of the singer/songwriter defeated behind a mosaic of pseudonyms and the unveiling of the vulnerable man himself…
John McKenna, the former lead singer of beloved KC rock band Red Guitar, recently moved to California and fine-tuned his sound. His new solo album, Stone Cold Summer, has a sunny sensibility that is unmistakable.
McKenna’s new songs reflect his new lifestyle: beachy and pop-centric, like vintage Beach Boys tunes. -Ink-
Now in his 30s, McKenna looked alt preacher man in his black suit and casual fedora. His band included three high-class ladies, in cocktail dresses, on backup vocals, each of whom was married to a band member. McKenna's songs are smooth, attentive to melody and — get this — happy. One song is based on the kids' book Go, Dog. Go! that, McKenna said, you've read to your kids unless you simply don't care about them. The ditty's called "Play, Dog, Play" and is one infectious kibble. In addition to the chaste lyric We fall asleep after we talk into the night, the song "Stay In My Mind" boasts the line One glass of red wine gives me a headache. -The Pitch-