Often compared to Ryan Adams, Ryan Bingham, Damian Rice, & David Gray, McNary is definitely a folk artist to look out for. With his distinctive voice and ability to convey raw emotions with every note, this Nashville based singer/songwriter is clearly naturally talented. McNary found his passion for writing and performing music while he volunteered and backpacked in South America after college, an experience that no doubt impacted his music and his sound.
McNary’s sophomore release, While We Are Waking, draws heavily from his southern roots with evident traces of folk and even country music popping up in his work. Though most of the songs from While We are Waking share the same soft, acoustic, folk sound to them, they still manage to stand apart from each other. Among the seven songs included on While We Are Waking, a few of my favorites include “Lonely Tonite” and “Empty Are We” because I think they both demonstrate how unique all of McNary’s songs can be while still fitting under the same sound and genre. “Lonely Tonite” begins on the slower side but gradually picks up pace with the introduction of a faster drum beat. As the song progresses, McNary’s lyrics unfold to reveal an honest portrayal of loneliness that most people would have an easy time relating to. Another one of my favorite songs is “Empty Are We”. Unlike “Lonely Tonite”, “Empty Are We” maintains a slow, steady beat throughout the entire song which gives it a more melancholy feel to it. The acoustic guitar, slow drum beat, and confessional lyrics are matched with an increase in dynamics and the addition of more instruments toward the end of the song that when put together creates the perfect emotional ballad.
McNary’s music is perfect regardless of the time of day or your state of mind which is why I think his music is so good — it’s universal. You can play it whenever and wherever you want because McNary’s music is classic and will never get old.
Most recently, McNary released a single, “The Other Man” which is out of this world amazing — if this upward trajectory in the quality and sophistication of his music is any indication of what’s to come, then I can hardly wait. I look forward to seeing and hearing what McNary creates for us music-lovers next, but in the meantime you can join me in playing his music non-stop here or on Spotify.