There’s a restless spirit flowing through the North Country that’s hard to define, and sometimes a good song is the only way to put it into proper perspective. The May North has a rare knack for doing just that—making sense of love, loss, long winters, longer highways and the shifting lines between urban and country living. With a sound that’s part classic Americana, part folk, part bluegrass and a bit of breakneck blues, The May North pays homage to these forms while carving its own distinctly original path.
The members of The May North converged around St. Paul, MN in 2010 and quickly found a home in the blossoming Midwest acoustic music scene. Prior to that, these diverse musicians honed their skills jamming in bluegrass and blues circles and performing in various rock, funk, symphony and brass ensembles.
The band is careful not to define themselves as strictly “bluegrass” or “folk,” as the music finds its influences, lyrics, and keys deviate away from the norms of these genres. However, they do employ the time-honored instruments of acoustic guitar, upright bass, banjo, dobro and fiddle to create an earthy and intricately-woven soundscape. With evocative ballads and hard-driving foot-stompers, their engaging songs bring live audiences from quiet reflection to howling jubilation within the course of an evening.
In January 2011, The May North released its debut album, Songs From the North Country, at the 331 Club in Minneapolis. With a growing repertoire of original songs, the band is poised to record a follow-up release in the coming months.
“Riding through the valley, well it’s where I’m at peace. Living in the city, well it’s where I get what I need.” So goes the opening line of At Least I Had a Reason, a song that illustrates how The May North can navigate contradiction as well as any Minnesota artist since Bobby Zimmerman first put pen to paper. This is bluegrass without boundaries, folk without pretense, honest storytelling without apology.
The May North is:
George McCorkell, guitar/vocals
Stephanie McCorkell, fiddle/guitar/vocals
Justin Smith, upright bass
Matthew Byrnes, banjo/vocals
Chris O’Brien, dobro/vocals