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Maggie McClure: Girls rock

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Maggie McClure is one of those transplanted L.A.-based artists who might make you wonder why you’ve never heard of her before . . . she’s that good. For those not up on all their indie artists, Maggie McClure is a singer/songwriter-musician who puts the focus more on sharing her personal life through her music as opposed to a detailed bio.

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A veteran of more than 750 live performances, McClure says: “Each show is a blessing. “I can’t go up there and push the ‘routine’ button. I make each one count and give the audience my best.”

McClure has been recording music since 2007 when she released her 10-track eponymous disc Maggie McClure. The CD included such songs as “Believe” and the album end-note “All Of Me”. Three years later (2010) she whetted her fans’ audio appetites for more with her 6-song EP Good Morning & Good Night. It featured such cuts as the titular track and the realistic “Everything We Don’t Say”.

Just last year McClure followed it up with another EP. This one was the seasonal First Thing on My Christmas List which she did with Shane Henry. They left listeners wanting more with only four Christmas cuts included. They also released the noteworthy single “Kiss for Christmas” off the EP. It was not the first of her singles, of course, but it certainly proved McClure could work well with others.

In between the live gigs and recording sessions McClure expressed her tuneful talents in other ways. She worked as a featured background extra on Matthew (Mr. Schu in “Glee”) Morrison's music video for “It Don't Mean A Thing.” Her songs have been included in the movie Cowgirls N' Angels as well as such TV shows as “Dr. Phil”, MTV’s “The Real World’, “Worst Prom Ever”, “The Hills” and “The Young And The Restless”. McClure is currently playing Violetta on the English version of Disney Channel Latin America's “Violetta” now showing in the UK and other countries.

Her upcoming February 2014 release is titled Time Moves On. On this 9-track recording McClure (lead and background vocals, piano and keyboards) musically chronicles her mental and physical travels from her home in Oklahoma to her base of operations here in California. She is backed by an assortment of other artists including producer Justin Glasco (drums, percussion, bass, programming, banjo and additional keys and guitars), Brandon Walters (electric guitar and lap steel), Shane Henry (acoustic and electric guitar and background vocals), Steve Miller (acoustic and electric guitar) and Christopher Wray (pedal steel guitar).

The album opens on “Reset.” This one was co-written with Glasco with strings by Alexander Tseitlin. This is both musically mournful and melancholy complete with a hopeful, whispering cry for a new beginning. It’s followed by one of the best tracks on the disc—“Liar, Liar”.

“Liar, Liar” is reminiscent of 1970s Kate Bush with a chorus that is a clever twist on a childhood rhyme. This original composition belies something spiritual and emotional and seems to touch upon refocusing or remembering priorities in life. It’s followed by “Uncertainty” which continues to demonstrate her writing abilities.

“Closer Than Before” comes next. It’s an upbeat cut co-written with Glasco and focuses on that moment in a relationship when one discovers and somehow tries to express the fact that despite everything that could have gone wrong somehow you are still growing together and are “closer than before”.

The titular track follows in what sounds like an audio album of intimate offerings straight from the author’s heart. This, too, was co-written with Glasco. The sixth selection is “Troubled Heart”. It is almost a prerequisite piece in that it has that “lone wolf” 1960s feel to it. It touches on that moment in life when one realizes a change has to be made.

“Daydream At Midnight” is co-written with Shane Henry and reminds older fans how well the pair works together. It’s followed by the “Critic’s Choice” “Central Time”. The song touches the heart and soul of anyone who left their home and family behind to follow their dreams and totally captures that fluctuation of feelings that can pull on in both directions. This McClure-Henry mix has definitely made your rockin’ writer’s personal playlist. (In fact, expect to see yours truly doing a duet with McClure at her next show as he’s been practicing in his car for weeks now . . . yeah, right.)

The closing cut is “It’s Alright”. This features some strings assistance from Tseitlin and effectively marks the end of an album that is expansive and ethereal as well as honest and introspective. It’s a tuneful tale of an unpredictable journey in hopes of creating a new future. Check out Maggie McClure’s new album, Time Moves On, and you might find that you’ll be even “Closer Than Before” to loving her music.

My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.

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