The music of Jack Thorgood & The McKinley Bros Band chronicles the loves, losses, heartbreaks and dreams of a traveling blues man in search of some piece of mind. Steel strings, walking bass lines, a shuffling beat and healthy dose of blues harp accompany the singer as he tells his tales of regret and hope.
Jack is the quintessential singer/songwriter, traveling the heartland with guitar in hand. One can imagine Thorgood in the driver seat, heading to the next gig with a van full of McKinley brothers in tow. There is only one obstacle to this scenario, they’re not real.
Jack Thorgood & The McKinley Bros Band is a fictional band of outlaw country crooners, created by Swedish musicians Martin Wilhelmsson and Anders Wikström. Way back in 2006, the two friends were both members of a traveling rock band. In their downtime they started writing rustic acoustic blues and country songs for fun.
The duo decided to capture their new tunes as soon as they created them. So they booked 8-weeks of Saturdays at the Studio Svag Bris recording studio in Orebro, Sweden. Each Friday the two would get together and write a song. The following day they would head to the studio and set the track to tape with fellow ‘McKinley Bros’; Peter Edgren (harmonica), Mats Olson (drums/percussion) and Steve (bass).
Fast forward 16 years. It’s 2022 and Martin Wilhelmsson is a successful Americana singer/songwriter. Regular readers of The Static Dive will remember the singer from previous releases like “Let it Be” and “Super Trouper“. Jack Thorgood & The McKinley Bros Band begins to sneak back into his thoughts, so he dusts off the old unreleased album and gets the band back together.
From the Delta blues lament of “Love is Just a Fog” to the Dylan-inspired heartbreaker “I’m Only Bleeding”, Jack Thorgood & The McKinley Bros Band’s self-titled debut feels like the real deal. We know the album was recorded at a studio in Sweden, but its heart was born in the honky tonks and highways of the American southwest. Martin and Anders conjure the ghosts of legends like Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard on tragic allegories like “Ballad of a Sunday” and “I’m the Man”.
The musicians’ rock & roll roots sneak through on occasion. They slide a bit of feedback guitar into “Fire n’ Scotch”, and the album closer “The Band (Bonus Track)”, tells the classic story of a rock band on tour, with a twist. However, even in those more mainstream moments, a country heart beats throughout the album.
Check out Jack Thorgood & The McKinley Bros Band in its entirety below, or listen on your favorite streaming service. You can also hear the song “I’m the Man” on the Deep Indie Dive playlist. Wilhelmsson and Wikström are not just resurrecting the recording, they’ve also got some live gigs lined up for 2023. If you are in the Stockholm area, look them up. Follow the links below to connect.