Life-affirming music, songs, and musicians with the power to lift souls into the heavens always manage to arrive when we need them most. Call these mini-sermons of healing delivered by prophets with microphones, guitars, basses, drums, and keyboards. They are sonic balms that energize just as they soothe.
Award-winning singer, songwriter, and musician Jason Lee McKinney has spent more than a decade cementing a name for himself and his band, The Jason Lee McKinney Band, in the competitive world of modern-day roots music.
In its vibrant lifespan, the band has merited a top 10 hit in Texas, a collection of national and international tours, a number of industry awards, and worldwide recognition including a Josie Music Award for Male R&B Vocalist of the Year in 2019 and R&B/Soul Entertainer of the year in 2021, and an Independent Country Music Association award for Artist of the Year in 2014. The band's 2020 album, Pieces, and 2021 cover album, Intentions and Interpretations, both peaked at #7 on Roots Music Reports Roots Rock album charts as well.
McKinney, who fronts the JLMB with lead and background vocals, electric, and acoustic guitars, has established himself as the "Pablo Escobar of hope" in his 11th studio release, One Last Thing. Infused with the ancient lifeblood of spiritual music--from the raw soul of slave spirituals to the melodic foundations of southern gospel--the JLMB takes everything you've heard in their past releases and throws them into overdrive in their latest record.
"One Last Thing brings out an overtone that has always been an undertone in our music in that it is drenched in gospel," says McKinney. "On this album, we brought both the musical style and the message of the gospel to the foreground. The gospel was always part of our foundation, but now it's front and center. It really didn't happen by some master plan, but rather organically. Between the political climate, the pandemic, and the general nihilistic dissent of community, we found ourselves drawn to hope. Gospel music and the gospel message resonate hope."
Between a Doctorate, MBA, MA in Philosophy, BA in Management, and a book coming out in the spring, it's not hard to see where McKinney's edgy and boundary-breaking songwriting finds its footing. And while the sources that fuel his latest collection are dense with years of scholarly reflection, the outpouring is remarkably uncluttered.
In One Last Thing, McKinney is joined by bandmates Barry Strauser on piano, organ, keyboards, and background vocals; Billy Wright on bass; Sam Berce on electric and acoustic guitars; and Logan Todd on drums and percussion. The record also features an array of guests, including Simon Alexander, Sebastian Falvo, Shannon Wickline, and Jules Belmont.
"I really believe it is our opus," McKinney continues. "Other bands might be able to create far superior albums, but One Last Thing on all three levels--songwriting (lyrical and musical), playing, and recording/production--is the best this band is capable of doing. In every way, this is our best work and what I believe will be the best we ever do."
From day one, the JLMB has been about exploration--personal, cultural, and musical--and One Last Thing holds every discovery, past and present, in reverence and gratitude. Amidst the debris along the way, the band's latest work is proof that a look in the rearview can lead to a masterpiece.