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[edited and compiled 13 March 2007 McClure & Trowbridge Publishing Ltd]
GEORGE McCLURE, WRITER and PRODUCER - INTERVIEWS
George McClure worked his first studio sessions doing radio spots in Sun Studios, Tucson AZ in 1978. With sessions numbering over a thousand,
McClure worked at Moody Studios in Charlotte NC, and in Nashville studios exclusively since 1991. (See Credits)
McClure has transcribed Vivaldi, Mozart, and Bach for acoustic ensembles, and is the writer of "The Ballad of O.J. Simpson", featured in the Nashville Tennessean and on TNN Nashville Network TV. A prolific writer, George is the author of a musical, two books, and music ranging from jazz and neo-classical through gospel, Latin, and country. He holds degrees from three universities and is a former space scientist, NASA Houston.
NAMM Awards nominee (Best New Singer); GRAMMY AWARD Producer of the Year, Non-classical contender [45'th - 48'th Academies]. TNN "Country Music News" appearances, Nashville Tennessean feature article on George's "The Ballad of O.J. Simpson".
"We appreciate the artistry" [Tara Austin, Equity Records]
"One-of-a-kind offering by a unique right-brained individual" [Joe Ross, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble]
GEORGE McCLURE – Playboy Swing Review by Joe Ross, staff writer Amazon.com - Barnes & Noble
George McClure’s “Playboy Swing” continues his signature calling to present
contemporary western swing music that also incorporates elements of
bluegrass, big band, and even bilingual Tex-Mex border music. George’s
talents are diverse and varied. Before embarking on a fully professional
music career, he studied cognitive anthropology, business, computers, math
and more. Obviously, he’s a creative right-brain type of guy who also knows
how to handily apply his aptitude and skill to playing, singing and
producing music. In his younger days, he’s played Arizona and New Mexico,
performed in the pit for live theatre, and picked bluegrass and country with the Salt River Ramblers. Now, he lives in Nashville where he produces records.
McClure's second successful
1999 album “Champagne Saturday” included the likes of Bobby Hicks, Judy
Lynn, Joey Miskulin, Rick ‘L.D.’ Money, Johnny B. I kind of miss the
accordion on “Playboy Swing,” but George has arranged his music with plenty
of other instrumentation to personalize his sound. Besides George’s guitar,
there are primarily trumpets, saxes, drums, bass, and piano. Sadly, John
Heinrich’s pedal steel only appears in William Young’s “Little Miss Santa
Clause” from his repertoire recorded in 2006. The bow work of fiddlers Jon
Yudkin and Andrea Zonn is essential to this kind of material, and they all
rise to the occasion without grandstanding.
The two bonus tracks offer selections recorded in 1992 (“Mass Grass”) and
1998 “Across the Alley from the Alamo”), and they seem to illustrate
McClure’s musical evolution from playing banjo in more acoustic arrangements
to the added instrumental dimensions he presents today. Stephen George
Miler’s “Mass Grass” is an instrumental with a relaxed sophistication that
featured David Grier, Mark Howard, and Terry Eldredge. “Across the Alley
from the Alamo” is a fun remake of the Bob Wills’ classic, and it has Johnny
Bellar’s lap steel, Bobby Hicks’ fiddle, and Mark Schatz’ bass in the mix.
McClure’s newest material has developed more into big band and jazz music.
At track 2, an updated 2006 rendition of “Mass Grass” still has George
picking banjo, but also has grand piano, violin, bass, drums, sax and
electric guitar. The tune takes a completely different ambiance of relaxed,
good-time vibe, as does “Mood Time” with its shimmering piano, sax and taste
McClure also remakes his own “Champagne Saturday” (with Kathy
Chiavola’s background vocals) into a grooving little number for the
front-porch swing. In his songs like “Texas Blues” and “Mis Pensamientos,”
George sings with warm, affable texture. I guess that’s what he refers to as
“romantico” music with tints of Mexican mariachi melodies. Jim Hoke’s
wailing trumpets really fill out the score for “Día De Los Muertos (The
Matador).” McClure’s music is a little enigmatic at times. For example, why
does he begin the album with a 3-minute version of “Playboy Swing,” but
revisits the song with a 5-minute version (entitled “Playboy Loop”) at track
12? All in all, this CD’s a one-of-a-kind offering from a unique
right-brained individual. It’s rather entertainingly off-beat. Hang loose,
and enjoy it. (Joe Ross)
GEORGE McCLURE – Playboy Swing - LINER NOTES
JIP Records JIP-7007
Celestino Fernández, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology, University of Arizona Tucson AZ
If you like swing music, you’re going to love this CD! Simplemente, bonita música para
bonitos tiempos! What a great mix of instrumentals, bilingual songs, and soothing
vocals... and it gets better with every listening. Often throughout the CD, one gets the
feeling of being in the live presence of the artist, listening to the music, interacting with
him between songs, and dancing the night away.
"Mis Pensamientos" begins in Spanish and switches to English; the listener soon gets the
feeling of being in the desert, on either side, of the U.S.-Mexico border. The refrain, "solo
tu, solo tu..." (Only you, only you...) is both soft and moving.
My favorite song on the CD is "Día De Los Muertos (The Matador)" (Day of the Dead -
The Matador). The title plays on the Día de Los Muertos (All Souls Day - November 2nd)
that is celebrated in Mexico and on the theme of bullfighting and specifically on the
killing of the bull. This is a beautiful instrumental with a clear and vibrant trumpet that
builds, leading the listener to imagine the end of the bullfight when the bull is killed. A
bit sad, really.
On the happy side, Champagne Saturday is an upbeat little love swing to relax by on a
Saturday afternoon, or on any day of the week for the matter. Slow, smooth, and soothing.
Dr. Celestino Fernandez is a world-class expert on border music and corridos. He is Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
GEORGE McCLURE INTERVIEW by FrogDaddy fr. alienlove.com
Tell me George, what do you call yourself? ... a musician, songwriter, performer ... all of the above?
"George", usually; also "beautiful" and "handsome."[smile]. I'm a writer, and producer, showman, singer and musician as well. In terms of income, i'm a producer and entrepreneur, but all successful music people are entrepreneurial.
I toured and played for a living two periods in my life; five years in from 1979 to 1983, and eight years in Nashville through about 2001.
I transposed Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in Am for acoustic ensembles, I've written two books and a musical, and I've written hundreds and hundreds of songs.
Well what made you want to be all those things :-)
I was exposed to a great depth and array of classical music as a child. I was taken out of school to attend symphonies and concerts on a regular basis.
In my first year of college, a friend forced me to go to an Earl Scruggs Review concert with him and a group of friends. It revolutionized my life. I never saw anything like it before or since. All I could think of was "banjos" after that, and about a year later I bought my first one and started learning with the Pete Seeger book.
Two and a half years later I was playing for a living. The coupling of my extensive ear training in childhood with diving very very deeply into a few genres of music as a musician and writer and performer, has given me depth and vision as a producer. It's a natural progression with my talent set, I think.
Would you summarize your music for me? What's it all about?
It's about me and it's about life.
Frog, I've played and sung and written many forms of music. I write Latin jazz (Romantico) now, in Spanish. I played and wrote bluegrass and country from the very beginning, and experimented with jazz and neo-classical too. I've written and recorded blues, and funny songs, and childrens ditties.
I got very deeply involved with cowjazz (Western swing) touring, and still play it. The TexMex led into Romantico. I aculturated with the native sounds of Sonora, Ranchero, ranch & country, bluegrass, Western swing jazz, Apache and Tohono O'odom, Mariachi, and so on. I would say my music is rooted in the depths of mankind.
I've studied songs historically, for example ancient Apache songs and dances rooted back 5,000 years, and I've traced songs back across the ocean to the British Isles to sources dating back three and four hundred years (and more), in some cases. I'm convinced tunes like "Temperance Reel" are a thousand or more years old.
Nashville players have said about me "He has a way of making every song his own" [Billy Rose] and "You're a true original" [Britt Savage]. I'm a stylist, playing all the songs my way.
Hey George, tell us here at AlienLove, what's "I Made Love to an Alien Last Night" (Alien Love) really about? [big smile]
That's a funny question ... It's about different things to different people, I suppose. Kids seem to like it. I was watching a 60-minute pseudo-documentary on aliens and the Roswell Incident, around 1995. They said in the program that one of four Americans claims to have been abducted or molested by space aliens. I wrote the song "I Made Love To An Alien Last Night" right then. I actually wrote it on banjo.
That's amazing that you can do that George. But I guess thats how some things come to artists ... just all of sudden, wham! it's there.
Did you ever do anything except music?
No. Oh, I spent eight years in computers and math, culminating in artificial intelligence research for the Space Station Program at Johnson Space Center, Houston. I left there August 1991 to return to my first career, music.
OK George, people always want to know, what's your favorite song or songwriter?
Very complex question. [smile]
In country, Merle Haggard and the Carter Family (the latter collectors, of course.)
In pop, Rogers & Hammerstein.
R&B, Ray Charles. Ray Charles' "Hit The Road Jack" was and is a driving force in my life like no other, perhaps equalled by the Supremes.
Roger Miller's "King Of The Road" effected me similarly. (I heard these few snatches of popular song on the radio as a young boy.)
"Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" (Selena), "Amazing Grace" (John Newton), "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (Ian McCall), "Pieces Of You" (Jewel), "I Will Always Love You" (Dolly Parton)
Lot's of influences hey George, :-) ... here's a question from our membership. We are all avid readers here at AlienLove.com. What kind of books do you read?
I have very little time for pleasure reading now, but when i do, it is usually history of Arizona/Sonora and native american things. In work, I read about the music business, and have a small reference library.
I read voluminously as a boy, up to five and seven books a week, and I have a $200,000.00 library. I've read many of my books two and three times over.
Who/What do you think has been the most important person or event in your life?
Man ... You go for the tough ones, don't you? [smile]
Ha ha ha ... OK George how about this one, Are you helping underlings/wannabe's/young people (musicians etc.) develop themselves?
Yes, I like to take time to help others. We give the Trowbridge Youth Achievement Award every year, to a deserving youth or child. http://www.nashvillestarsearch.com I give extra personal time to any young person whose parent or parents come with them to learn.
I give back to my community as well. On Christmas Day I gather (or buy) candy and food and clothes, and with some friends, deliver to the people living on the streets and byways.
Do you feel pressure/stress in your work?
Rarely. It's mostly a time thing. You have to be able to manage certain types of stress very well to be an independent in the music business. I basically love those stresses, they keep my feeling alive, so I like it.
Can you talk about your latest project?
We are releasing a country single by Gus Rhein; recording a soul gospel single to release in May, by Debbie Tucker; and starting on a 15-song album - video project for Jacqui Watson.
The Gus Rhein single is part of the Band of Writers series on JIP Records (Just Iss Planetary Records) and the Jacqui Watson record will release on Artist Choice CD later this year.
You can watch for these releases on Tower Records, GAC, iTunes, cdbaby.com and jiprecords.com
Ask for them in your favorite record store.
George, we ask this question of all our guests and there are no exceptions [smile] .... Have you ever had any unusual or paranormal experiences in your travels?
Yes. I called the spirit deer out of the woods to me as a boy. She came to me and stood by me, a wild white tailed doe. I charmed the wild grouse and walked up to it and felt its wildly beating heart.
I had an astral projection at about nineteen years of age, shooting out over the West and looking down on the Rockies, from Canada to the Southwest. This happened when I was awake. (Later I hitchiked the route, from Fairbanks to Tucson.)
In more recent years, twenty eagles circled overhead while I and my friend Danny visited Geronimo's Grave in Medicine Park, Oklahoma. I saw the spirit pony at his grave. I believe this could have been a vision.
I have witnessed amazingly strange phenomena in Texas, near the military ranges. I assume they were Harriers hazing me. The Roswell Daily Record reporter who wrote about the Roswell Incident is a friend of mine.
When I was about nine, I was fishing on a creek with my father and we witnessed a fireball fall out of the sky. It was so huge and close, I was convinced it landed in our valley. I was also convinced it was something like "The War Of The Worlds" [HG Wells]. I suppose it was a close meteorite. It was fantastic!
I have a PhD physicist friend who worked Los Alamos as a research scientist. It was all very top secret so he couldn't tell me anything specific, but one day he came back and said "I saw IT" with this huge awe. I said "What?" and he said "I saw IT". Well, you and I probably both know what it was he saw. I was also top secret clearance at one point in my computer career.
Wow ... that was intense ... how about 2 more quick questions?
Do you feel that you are 'political' - in your music or in other ways?
I don't feel my music is political, however I write op-ed pieces and press releases on major issues that I feel profoundly. Being a public persona, expressing political views can be a detriment to business, so I try to keep relatively low key in political matters now.
I write to my representatives regularly to let them know how I feel about various issues however. I am passionate about freedom in every form.
Last question George [smile] ...How do you feel about the direction American is heading?
You're free to read some of my letters and press releases on http://www.georgemcclure.net/ it's all there [smile]
George .. I want to thank you personally, and, from our readers and guests on AlienLove.com. You are a true gentleman and made it a pleasure to talk to you, and get to know you at a deeper level then just hearing your music. Exposing an inner piece of yourself to the public is not always an easy thing to do, and I want you to know we appreciate the time you took from your busy life to allow us a clearer and more educated view of the inside of your world. We wish you and yours the absolute best, and continued success in whatever you do. If there's ever anything AlienLove.com can do for you or anyone in your circle ... just let us know, AlienLove will be there for you. Thank You.
ps... "you're right George, kids do like that song!"
[c. McTrow Ltd. 13 Mar 07]
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