Based in Birmingham, AL, Stuart McNair writes songs that carry the listener to places of epiphany: extraordinary musical craftsmanship blends with accomplished poetry, an experience of authenticity and insight that comes once in a generation. With a distinct style and artistic voice, Stuart McNair achieves that which many seasoned musicians yearn for- music seeped in the emotional tones, tenor, insight and honesty of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.
A versatile musician, Stuart plays styles ranging from Rock-n-Roll to Country and Zydeco to Bluegrass. He is an accomplished singer and guitar player, and he also plays keyboards, trumpet, accordion, mandolin, and other instruments. Having been exposed to unique musical traditions while growing up in Alabama, Stuart makes music that blends his own distinctive voice with the musical traditions of the South .
"I use a lyrical approach almost akin to southern roots music. Issues important to the human experience can be examined, brought to light and expressed. At the same time, they are part of a song that makes the listener feel at ease because of the pleasant nature of the song, and just the fun of it," Stuart said.
Stuart McNair has been playing all sorts of music since the age of ten, but these days he is concentrating his energies as a singer-songwriter who can entertain solo or with the excellent cast of supporting musicians who make up The Stuart McNair Band. For tour dates and regular postings of mp3's for download, listeners are invited to subscribe to his regular e-newsletter, "Stu's News". Most importantly, his 14-song album "Building a Fire" is expected in 2004. "Building a Fire" is an antidote to today's industry trends, where marketing campaigns tend to win over musical innovation and artistry.
"While the songs are layered, textured, and full of harmonies," Stuart said, "the focus of Building a Fire is on the melodies and the lyrics, which deal with political and personal issues. The album covers various types of personal transformations in changing relationships with others, oneself and the universe."
Here Stuart McNair's keen ears and eyes translate his compelling perceptions of the big and small - from a moment in a car with a near stranger to an exploration of universal philosophies. "Building a Fire" is a polished achievement, surging with stark beauty and visceral personal truths.
But if you ask him, Stuart's focus is always on the music. "For me, it's about trying to express universal experiences and concerns, but through a medium that can speak directly to the hearts and minds of listeners."
Stuart played in high school and university bands before joining Pain, an 8-piece, high-energy rock band. With Pain, Stuart played trumpet, keys and other instruments. He also composed arrangements for the horn section. During his three years with Pain (96-99), Stuart toured 35 states, hitting notable clubs like CBGB. Stuart had a number of successful efforts with Pain, including a recording for the Cartoon Network and a series of live, on-air radio performances broadcast over Los Angeles.
Following Pain, Stuart began his solo career by releasing the 24-track album "I Can't See Over the Accordion." The album, featuring noted Southern musicians, received significant college airplay. One novel song on the album, "Puking in a Naked Girl's Bed," has become a cult hit on the Alabama club circuit and was put into rotation on the nationally syndicated "Dr. Demento Show." Reviews of the album were positive, and one reviewer said that Stuart McNair is "destined for alternative greatness".
Stuart followed his solo debut with a foray into fronting a band, forming Red Label Revolver. This 5-piece band, featuring an aggressive electric guitar and complex vocal harmonies, played clubs and festivals in the southeast. Red Label Revolver produced the EP "Eat the Demo" and the full-length album "Show." After winning the Birmingham Battle of the Bands contest in 2001, Red Label Revolver procured a slot on the main stage of the annual Birmingham City Stages Festival, playing in front of Juliana Hatfield. Stuart's band received a glowing review in the city's entertainment paper Black and White, when one reviewer said that Stuart's band "owned the night from the first note", and was a "star vehicle for frontman Stuart McNair".
In 2002, Stuart resumed his solo career, and today he plays almost 200 shows per year as a solo performer or with the ever-evolving set of remarkable musicians that make up the Stuart McNair Band. At a typical live show, Stuart showcases his original songs while at the same time drawing upon his vast knowledge of decades of popular music. Stuart chooses cover songs that highlight his versatility and bring out the best in his band. Reviewers have compared Stuart's music to artists including John Mellencamp, Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, and Johnny Cash.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Come to Caroline
2. No Emergency
4. Building a Fire
5. Can't Be Good
7. Memphis (in a Two-seat Plane)
8. Separate Ways
10. Setting Suns
12. Walk On Water
13. Walk On Water Reprise
14. Everyone Is You