Welcome to another edition of "For The Record." In this edition, we focus on McMains’ new album “American Soul.” For those not up on their indie artists, McMains is a Southern California-based singer-songwriter/guitarist Mick McMains who just goes by his surname when he records and performs.


McMains is a blue-blooded American too. He is a descendant of Devil Anse Hatfield of the legendarily famous, feuding Hatfields (and McCoys). His signature sound is a musical mix of multiple genres including Americana, alt-country, blues, country, pop, and roots-rock.

On this platter the singing guitarist is backed by an assortment of other artists including: Jeff Striddle (drums), Jamie Hunting (bass), Dave Pearlman (steel guitar and pedal steel), Drew Hatter (guitar and backing vocals), Fabrizio Caravello (drums), Armin Schuch (bass), Dennis Edwards (drums), Geoff Maddock (rhythm guitar, bass and backing vocals), Rich Mouser (backing vocals), Warren Giancaterino (upright bass), Derek Reymer (accordion, piano, “vibes”, and backing vocals), and Moose McMains (bass).

Track by track

The 13-track release opens on “Would If I Could.” It and the song that follows were co-written with associate producer Joey Alkes. It speaks of conviction and the lack of any real regrets.

The second selection is “Devil Don’t Care.” Like the opener, it has an alt-country feel. The song’s readymade for a TV or movie soundtrack for sure.

“Don’t Say Goodnight Tonight” is the premiere single off this album. It took the top spot on the Airplay Express Top 40 Chart last December. It’s followed by “Since I Started Loving You” which has a heartfelt sound to it that makes one imagine it had an emotional origin.

“Is It Over?” is a musical query that is both personal and universal in its expression of missing a loved one when he/she is called away on business or personal matters. “Shenandoah,” the next number, is a nice take on a traditional tune and is highlighted by the work of guest vocalist Cheyenne Jolene. “End of the Day,” although oddly placed, is a nice slow dance number.

Songs that are both universal but yet personal stand out for any performer. “Hello Heartbreak” is such a song. Here McMains sings of a difficult time in his life that he managed to overcome.

McMains also includes an upbeat adaptation of the 1971 John Denver hit “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” It has a long history but nevertheless, he tries to make it his own. His acoustic-tinged signature sound returns with his Americana cut “Never 2 Late 4 Love.”

“Slow Down My Heart” is also included here and is yet another example of McMains’ abilities. “Time Well Wasted” is another fun cut that focuses on what’s really important in life. Not to be confused with the 1980s song by former Red Dog Record act The Seen, “Under the Sun” offers one final example of the material that not only demonstrates his fluid, friendly songwriting but also offers another personal insight as he sings a song about escaping an unpleasant place or moment in his life.

For the record

For the record, this audio offering is an honest, down to earth collection of tuneful tales about the trials and tribulations of love and life. It’s just plain real. So check out McMains’ new album “American Soul" and you might just find that it’s “Time Well Wasted.”