Ken Leighton 6:48 a.m., Aug. 27
RIYL: Stereophonics, Kings of Leon, Tom Petty, Elliott Smith, Cat Stevens, Ryan Adams, the Wallflowers, Belle and Sebastian, Wilco, Arcade Fire, BRMC, Noel Gallagher, Pete Yorn, Tom Petty
Upcoming Local Shows
- Blurt: "The Unintentionally Authentic Michael McGraw" · July 20, 2011
- Jam Session: "Michael McGraw Embraces His Roots" · June 2, 2011
Inception: San Diego, 2006
Influences: Elliott Smith, the Rolling Stones, Wilco, Catherine Wheel, Stereophonics
“I’m an East Coaster,” says Pennsylvania native Michael McGraw. “I have a little moodiness and I’ve come to embrace it. The music we’re making now is true to that.”
McGraw moved to San Diego in the summer of 1999 to pursue a music career. Taking bits and pieces from melodic British rock, 1990s American angst, and the heartfelt honesty of songwriters past and present, McGraw has adapted a simple style to convey his ideas.
McGraw honed his songwriting skills in local bands like the Yellow Miseries (2001 - 2003) and True Crime Authors (2004 - 2007). In 2008, he started playing with his current line up of Chris Decatur (drums/vox) and Mark Lane (bass).
In 2009, the trio released a 6-song EP, Hillside, that blends folk rock with modern sonic touches. That was followed in May 2011 by a 5-song EP, You Don’t Know Nothin’ and That’s What Makes it Alright, mastered by Mike Kamoo at Earthling Studios. The cover depicts McGraw’s dog, the inspiration for the album’s title.
“I have a very Brit rock background, so everything has a lot of fuzzy guitar,” says the North Park-based musician, who is also a freelance illustrator who makes show posters for his own group and for touring bands.
“I tend to find a universal theme for each song. Nothing too blatant. I take a very Rolling Stones approach to songwriting, which is phonetic rather than going in with a preconceived theme. People have always told me my songs are very anthemic, like U2, which isn’t intentional. I try to write very straight songs. I don’t try to reinvent the wheel. If I take the songs we play now and make them acoustic, it sounds Americana.”
“My 20s were all about questioning what it all means,” McGraw says. “Now in my 30s, I realize I don’t have to have all the answers.” He got married in Autumn 2011 and began work the following year on a record with his band the Butchers (formed in 2008).