In April of this year, I went to the Southgate House Revival in Newport, KY to hear a live act I had only seen in a few YouTube videos. Arlo McKinley & the Lonesome Sound had popped up in invitations friends sent me to let me know what they were about to go see on the weekends and unfortunately I let each opportunity pass. Early in 2014 I stumbled across a trio called “Alone at 3am” featuring Arlo McKinley on the “Couch by Couchwest” music festival, singing a new song of his called “I’ve Got Her”. The slow, steady rhythm of the song seemed to gain dramatic energy without ever changing its pace or volume, but the way it swelled into its one chorus and ended soon afterward just haunted me. I played it over and over, humming each part to myself for the genius of its simple, passionate beauty.
At the Southgate House Revival that April night as I watched Arlo McKinley & the Lonesome Sound play songs from their new album, I just about smacked myself in the forehead for not getting out to see him sooner. I bought the debut album and kept it on repeat in my car for two weeks straight, delving into the powerhouse vocals owned by Tim Carr as Arlo McKinley. There is such a genuine Honkey Tonk feel to these songs that you can’t help feeling like you are in a smoky bar somewhere. Close your eyes and you may feel like you are among some of the great minds in classic country music who can take a guitar and a few chords, and use those guitar strings to tear at your heart.
Arlo McKinley & the Lonesome Sound may be a Cincinnati secret for the time being, but within the music community his name is mentioned as one of those who should make it. Tim Carr’s humble obsession with honoring his roots while pushing his own boundaries will most certainly draw attention to the music his band is making. His friends in Cincinnati are most certainly cheering him on as more people inside Cincinnati and outside its borders continue to discover the depth of talent he has to share.
Catch them at the Buckle Up Music Festival on Saturday in the VIP tent at 2:15 and again on the Lawn Stage at 5:45!