I'm kicking off the series this week with Kelly McGuire! Meeting him in Springfield MO a couple weeks ago was so much fun. Here's a blip of his BIO before we open the chute...
Kelly made a living at music for 15 years before starting to write songs. Now 5 CDs later with songwriting awards, an Album of the Year award from the Texas Music Awards as well as nominations for Entertainer of the Year & Producer of the Year- he is living a dream!
He currently resides in the Clear Lake/NASA area of Houston near Galveston Bay and many of his songs reflect the Gulf, Boats, Islands, Sailing, Beaches, Buffett , Belize and his years as ayacht broker. There are also fan favorites about Life , Love, Guitars, Daughters & Mom & Dad!
Touring either solo or with his band he travels Coast to Coast as well as Belize, Mexico & Canada - he does House Concerts, Private events, Festivals & Concerts performing his own uniquely Gulf Flavored songs.
How did you make the jump from Springfield (MO) to Texas?
When I got out of my Freshman year of college and went back to Joplin I started an art gallery/ frame shop but I started playing music, guitar thing… like the Jim Croc, John Denver kind of stuff. Next thing you know I was hired by the Shot Gun Sam’s Pizza Palace that was in Joplin, Springfield, Tulsa, Dallas. Before you know it, I was playing 6 nights a week with SGS in all those cities.. well all except Dallas. But then the first time I went to Dallas to play they hired me full time. They had a couple of locations so I was in Dallas about 6 years then moved on to Houston. Down to the gulf coast.
The first thing I noticed was at Shot Gun Sam's in Springfield MO you could count the number of tables that had a pitcher of beer - on one hand probably. In TX you probably couldn’t find a table that didn’t have a pitcher of beer. So, I’m not a big drinker but I did notice that distinct difference. Now, there’s a whole lot of good music in the Ozarks. There’s a lot of good music in TX. But the climate in TX was really good for new music at the time, mid-late 70s.
I always wanted to be a writer. But I never was a writer. All the years I made a living with music before 2000 before my 1st CD. I quit playing the music then I started having the urge. And then ONE day.. I mean I attempted it sometimes but I could tell the songs were far short of anything I would… I mean I’m pretty critical about my own stuff and I general don’t finish something I’m not passionate about and think it’s worthwhile. So one day I went out.. I’d quit playing music and because I wasn’t 5 nights a week going to a job again. Music started getting more of a passion again. And I was playing around and one morning I went out and was playing around with something and this song kind of wrote itself and I said ‘Wow, there’s the formula there. It’s finally happened.” Then I wrote more songs and more songs.. so it was like the switch went on finally.
I did. It’s called Talk to me Tonight. It’s on the Club Blonde CD, way down towards the end and it was one of the four country songs I went to Nashville to start recordin. Club Blonde was supposed to be my first CD but it became my second because I had this little collection of songs about sailing and boats and things and once I started recording those, all the players in the studio and the people around us said ‘Wow that’s different. You’ve got something there. It’s different, it’s unique. It’s not just another country song in Nashville. So I said Hmmm… maybe I should give this some real attention” and I did. I released Red Fish Island and it’s well over 12,000 CDs it’s sold since then. So then Club Blonde came out 2nd.
It is in away. It was a nice thematic CD that wasn’t … I didn’t start out to make it happen. The CD happened by accident. I kept going back to Belize. I wrote the song Boat in Belize the last day I was in Belize on my first trip there. But I kept going back 2 or 3 times a year and each time I went back I had more stuff to write about and I wrote more songs. The next thing I know I’m looking here and thinking wow, I got a batch of songs, kind of a theme going here. There was a theme of songs on there whereas some of my other CDs are a little more eclectic. Like my newest CD, King of the Island is kind of a little island and a little country and there’s a lot of terminology about that kind of music, the tropical kind of music whether it’s Texaribian or Buffettesque or trop-rock or gulf and western… there’s a lot of names for it.
Childhood memory that stands out.
Well, one of them I write about in the Great Bicycle Disaster. It started in the 5th grade on a big hill in Kansas City, MO with a bicycle. A huge hill that I didn’t actually make it all the way down but you know it was taking chances and risks and the rest of the song is kind of a journey through life. But that was the time you kind of stick your neck out and have a little adventure. So that stands out but there’s a lot of childhood memories I write about.
I write about sneaking in the closet and finding my dad’s guitar when I was little kid. It’s on That First Guitar which is a true story about how I learned to play guitar. My dad said, “I’ll tell you what. You learn to play guitar on my guitar then we’ll get you your first guitar.” He sat me in front of something called a Magnavox… now, you may remember it but most of the people listening probably don’t know what a Magnavox is. But it was about the size of a small automobile made out of about an acre of rainforest mahogany and they played great big overgrown CD’s called records. LPs. Dad liked Chet Atkins so he sat me down and taught me 3 chords.. E A B and I played hundreds of times to I’m a Pilgrim until he taught me C F G and I got to play The Old Rugged Cross and that’s how I learned to play.
I’d have to say probably Belize. However I was in Costa Rica this past February right after I was in Belize. That was my first trip there and being up in the volcano area was just beautiful. That was a pretty cool thing I might not have gotten to do had my music not taken me there.
We do there’s an orphanage in the Houston area called Boys and Girls Harbor. For children that have been taken out of the home for various reasons and we do a lot to support them. Several of my events raise money for Boys and Girls Harbor and my NYE bash every year raises about $1000 that goes to them. I do a series of songwriter shows in Houston about once a month called Up Close and Personal with one guest artist. I think we had Larry Jo Taylor just about a month ago. And just at that show on a spontaneous thing we raised about $400-$500 in just a few minutes. So that’s a great cause.
The other cause is Galveston Bay foundation. They kind of watch after the coast line feeding Galveston Bay. Kind of an Eco-system from the bait fish to the marshland and all that. I do a concert out in Galveston Bay for about 200 boats every year over Labor Day weekend. Out in the water. All these boats are anchored and I sing off the back of another big boat and we raise money for Galveston Bay foundation. In fact I’m doing a big show next week at West Marine down south of Houston there. It’s a grand opening of their remodeling and that will be a benefit for Galveston Bay Foundation.
Favorite Food and Beverage
I love everything from fish to sushi.
Beverage-wise. Hmmm I could lose my man card if I told the truth on this you know. Truth be told, I don’t partake heavily on a regular basis. I don’t when I work because I have a hard enough time remembering my songs when I’m not drinking. I can’t say I don’t because there’s certainly been times I have…
Sometimes that night when I realize I can’t remember my words and everybody thinks it’s funny but it’s stressful for me and then… I drink a lot of water. I’m pretty boring.
I didn’t find anything boring about my first meeting with Kelly. I loved the opportunity to get to know him a little bit and hear his music first-hand.
Kelly has several dates coming up. Check out his website for a complete listing to find one nearest you and go have FUN! And if you’re in the mood to travel, you can always meet up with Kelly for his annual Birthday in Belize Bash January 26-February 11, 2013.
I hope you enjoyed our first Out of the Chute guest. Next week... Singer/ songwriter/ author - Mike Blakely!