Monday, January 18, 2016


A long-time blues-rock presence in Kitchener, Ontario, McKinley has been storing it up for decades, this being his debut disc. No surprise that it's all original material, all sorts of styles and confident. Much of the variety comes from his roots, as he's from Roswell, New Mexico (ya, that Roswell), and he cut his playing teeth on everything from Texas blues to Mexican styles to flashy guitar rock.

There's a good reason for the flashy rock stuff; McKinley is a monster player, and each song has him playing some pretty awesome stuff. So you get everything from straight-forward solos to explosive pyrotechnics. He's not afraid to go nuts on occasion, and likes to drop a quirky line in even when the song is pretty regular. Plus, the out-there and wild solos at first made me think it was some young hotshot doing all this, the sounds were so different. But he's old enough to have a 35-year old son, who happens to be playing bass throughout.

Passionate Man is the catchiest song here, with a great melody, just a little more rock than blues. Actually that sums up the whole album, blues-rock, heavy on the rock, especially good for guitar fans. What really sells it though is that he sings 'em well too, so these never feel like vehicles for the guitar playing, he's giving us the whole package.

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