Michele McGuire is an indie folk singer-songwriter from Chicago. The debut album, Mid-Western, is the 23-year-old’s view of growing up on Chicago’s South Side as well as traveling the rest of the country. “I think being from the Midwest is a really funny place to be from, because you don’t really have a 'thing.' You could be anything” McGuire says.
The album’s title, Mid-Western, is a re-appropriation of the Country-Western tradition, giving it a new home in the Midwest. McGuire also traces her musical roots to the Irish songs she’s heard her uncles sing in pubs on trips back to Ireland, as well as the American folk music of Chicago’s native son, John Prine.
McGuire’s 2011 EP, Stories from the Blue, established her as one of the
Chicago music scene’s new talents. Featuring the standout track, “Darling Girl,” the album was an honest and intelligent coming of age tale.
Mid-Western follows in those auspicious footprints. Recorded at Horsedrawn Studios in Berwyn with McGuire’s longtime drummer Steve McNamee and guitarist Brendan Linane (two childhood friends from the South Side), one of the album’s themes is accepting the transient life of being a musician, as on the heartbreaking ballad, “Mama Can’t Save Me Now.”
It’s not all sad songs here, though, and McGuire says she looks up to songwriters who can be serious and funny—often at the same time.
Mid-Western’s centerpiece, “One Too Many,” might fall into that category.
It’s the story of two young lovers who escape the Midwest for California, until something goes wrong, and the narrator returns to Chicago wondering what happened. “I believe I’ve listened to one too many American love songs,” she laments.
Mid-Western proves there’s still room for one or two more love songs in the American songbook.
Written By: Davis Inman