Arlo McKinley from the “John Prines” and “Ray Wylie Hubbards”
By Tom Bomb for Country Music News International Magazine
Arlo McKinley was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He first began singing at eight years in the choir at his family’s Baptist church. During his upbringing, he would listen to his Kentucky-born father’s LPs that included country artists such as Hank Williams and George Jones, the songwriting acumen of Bob Dylan, the soulfully climatic Otis Redding, and the eclectic nature of Van Morrison. By his teenage years, he was playing guitar and singing in various punk bands. His twenties would signal a change in direction toward the rootsy country and soul sounds that he was influenced by combined with a marriage to his love of rock music.
In 2014, he released his debut album, Arlo McKinley & the Lonesome Sound. He would gain a bit more attention when he started touring with his contemporaries. This list includes Tyler Childers, John Moreland, Jason Isbell, and the late Justin Townes Earle. In March 2020 before John Prine’s death, he was signed by Oh Boy Records leading to his sophomore album and Oh Boy Records debut, Die Midwestern, recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Studio with Grammy-winning producer Matt Ross-Spang. This past year saw the release This Mess We’re In which has been critically acclaimed across the board.