Charles S. McVey is a singer/songwriter who uses the medium of music as a backdrop for discussing a wide range of emotional experiences with regard to the human condition. His upfront lyrics allow him to remain frank and open while addressing subjects such as sexuality, suffering, and religious dogmas. His 2007 release, “Modern Living” received critical praise and resulted in over 75 regional performances to promote the album. Recently, McVey contributed to the score of Steve Balderson's acclaimed documentary “Wamego: Ultimatum” and has performed with national acts such as They Might Be Giants and Ian Moore.
McVey’s upcoming release, “ANIMAL,” is a nine track exploration into the loss of one’s faith. Casually labeled as a “spiritual break-up” record, the songs meander through such concepts as sexual repression, doubt, and divine abandonment. The recordings are melodically saturated while remaining emotionally bare, exposing the raw nerves and the disconcerting reflections of a man who wants to believe in God – but doesn’t. The album’s erotic artwork features adult film star Scott Campbell, and mixes Maplethorpe-esque photography with religious imagery to create a sexy and confrontational package. Within an hour the “edited for content” version of the cover was reported and removed from McVey’s MySpace page.
“ANIMAL” features the same line-up as “Modern Living” with McVey on piano and vocals, Erik Kessinger on drums, and Max Paley on bass. Lawrence musicians Dan Kozak (saxophone, This is My Condition), Josh Atkinson (guitar, Kelpie), and Clark Jamison (percussion, Lila, 11:11) also contributed to the recording. Colin Mahoney (engineering, Split Lip Rayfield) mastered the final product.
The arrangement of the tracks is a conceptual downslide ending in spiritual independence or emptiness, depending on the listener’s view of the world. “ANIMAL” does not present an alternative theology, nor is its intent to offer answers or explanations, but merely to raise questions. The listener is encouraged to explore its content with curiosity and an open mind. “ANIMAL” is the culmination of a year’s worth of work based on a lifetime’s contemplation and it is Charles S. McVey at his most refined.
“...a gifted songwriter...” ~ Timothy Finn * KC Star
“...candidly addresses matters of sexuality with pathos-packed ballads and ’80s influenced alt-rock." ~ Richard Gintowt * Lawrence.com
“McVey’s piano-based rock mixes innovative instrumentation with lyrics you won’t hear anywhere else.” ~ Matt Hanne * Liberty Press
"With his gravelly Tom Waits like voice and his in your face look at the world, Charles is a musical force, may it be with you, to reckon with."
~ Michael Shinafelt * DoorQ.com