Arlo McKinley’s highly anticipated debut solo album, Die Midwestern is being released this Friday, August 14th on John Prine’s independent Oh Boy Records.
Deeply rooted in street soul, country, punk, and gospel, with lyrics stark and arresting in their honesty, Die Midwestern sees 40-year-old McKlinley poised for success, after he almost gave up on music altogether before he caught the attention of Prine.
CincyMusic could not be happier for our friend, Arlo McKinley and were honored to chat with him prior to the release of Die Midwestern.
How does it feel to be the last artist signed to Oh Boy Records by the legend, John Prine?
It’s such an honor to me and hard to put into words what being signed to Oh Boy Records feels like. Knowing that I was on John Prine’s radar and that he liked what I was doing was reassurance to me that I’m doing exactly what I believe I was put here to do. They are not a label that’s putting records out every month or even every other month so to know that they believe in what I’m doing enough to add me to their roster is something I’m very thankful for.
Tell us about how the songwriting process went for Die Midwestern. To me, it feels as if each song was meant to lead into the next. Each song is amazing, but is only part of the whole story of the full album, in my opinion.
Most of the songs written on this record were all written within the last 3 to 4 years and it was during a very rough time in my life. I was losing friends regularly to addiction problems, I had just ended a long serious relationship and I wasn’t so sure what my own future was looking like. The album is a documentation of that time period. We’ll have to wait for Die Midwestern Vol 2 to see how it all ends up, I guess.
It’s a weird time for musicians right now. How has it been having such a big release coming out in a pandemic?
I’ve had mixed feelings about releasing a record during the state of the world we’re living in but in the end, I chose to release it hoping that people can decompress a little and forget about the craziness of the world. Even if just for a moment.
What is next for Arlo McKinley? Where can we catch you live (in-person, streaming)?
We’re doing our best to keep busy with live streams and video content. This is all I know. How to do so to stop completely and wait it out just isn’t an option for me. We’re being forced to think outside of the box and come up with ways to continue bringing music to those who want to listen. As of now I don’t know what that may be but as we figure it out. We’ll be letting everyone know through Ohboyrecords.com, Arlomckinley.com and all of our social media platforms. One thing I do know is that we’re just getting started.