Life-affirming music, songs, and musicians with the power to lift souls into the heavens, always manage to arrive when we need it 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.
Nashville-based Jason Lee McKinney Band offers up 16 of those spiritual infusions on One Last Thing, the group's 11th studio album and their first to revel in a Southern gospel vibe that seamlessly matches the band's soulful stew of rock, R&B, folk, blues, and country. One Last Thing, released last month, takes lyrical inspiration from the Bible and musical cues from the band's previous ten releases.
"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, who self-penned all 16 songs on One Last Thing. "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."
McKinney, who handles lead and background vocals, electric and acoustic guitars on One Last Thing, 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 guest musicians; Simon Alexander, Sebastian Falvo, Shannon Wickline, and Jules Belmont.
No gospel album worth its weight in holy water would be complete without a roomful of rejuvenating voices. One Last Thing includes vocals from McKinney's family; daughter Zakyra, sons Zeke and Zion, and daughter-in-law Julianna. Also, a beautifully jubilant choir accentuates the powerful "Freedom."
Other key tracks on One Last Thing include the R&B-soaked "Sing On," the rhythmic roots number "Cross Over," the lovely ballad "Lighthouse," and the irresistible gospel rave-up "Voice for the Voiceless." That clean, hearty, and passionate sound that permeates the entire disc comes from sterling production and engineering. For that, we thank producer McKinney, who also pulled double-duty as a part-time engineer, as well as engineers Justin Patton, Natalie Nabors, Cale Griffin, and Kevin Houston, who produced and engineered the band's 2020 opus, Pieces, and served as mix engineer for 2021's Intentions and Interpretations.
The award-winning singer, songwriter, and musician McKinney has spent more than a decade cementing a name for himself and his band in the competitive world of modern-day roots music. He's a tireless artist, a man who earned a Doctorate, MBA, and BA in Management and spent time as a college music professor. McKinney even has a philosophy book coming out in the spring. McKinney and company made it a point to not coast during the upheaval of the pandemic, instead choosing to stay creative to keep the soul alive.
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