Puremusic interview with
Pat McLaughlin

Musical legends don't come easy to the living in Nashville, too many people hoping to weave one. Naturally, the ones who actually do are busy chasing down a song, a groove, a story or a melody. (Not to mention chasing down a living, or a spouse and kids.) In the course of that chase, all kinds of careers are survived, escaped, enjoyed, and endured.

Last month we ranted about an R&B prince, a too well-kept secret, and chose to follow that up this month with a conversation with him. Pat McLaughlin is someone I might say hi to in a club but with whom I'd not yet had a significant exchange. He's kind of a private person, and endearingly self-deprecating, which in itself is a nice change of pace in Music City. (Conversations where people want to enumerate all the good things that are happening for them are one of the earmarks of the new-to-town, or the slow learners.) He invited me to his home outside town a ways, and then out to his clubhouse where he goes to write most every day. It was also there that in the late-90s he rehearsed Tiny Town, an under the radar kinda supergroup. (He'd probably find that term a little embarrassing, but all the same...)

The clubhouse was rustic fab, out in the woods on his land. Shure Vocalmaster PA in the corners and a set of drums, couple of amps and tape decks. Solitary wooden chair and a microphone, cassettes all over the desk, a groover's idea of a good time. Pat has had some songwriting successes over the years, and has a cut on a recent Alan Jackson album, no less. ("Not a single," he was quick to add, but AJ sells quite a few units in these lean years, so it's far from something at which to sneeze.)

Pat tends to get out and play semi-regularly, to a mature and diehard following of his funky white soul music, and is invariably supported by the best players in town. I've seen several drummers on call in recent years (Chad Cromwell, Paul Griffith, Eddie Bayers), but the first string-men are generally Michael Rhodes on bass and Kenny Greenberg on guitar, each a producer in town as well. In our review of Pat's recent soul missile, Next Five Miles, we go on at some length about the live show. (And speaking of live shows, thanks to our buddy Mickey Dobo for his photographs of a recent gig at 3rd & Lindsley.)

Since way too little is known about the man, we backtrack with Pat and retrace a few footsteps, fill in a few blanks. But we strongly encourage everybody to go to the clips, man, that is where it's really going on. All of us at Puremusic are very enamored of the man's depth of groove and grasp of song. We are proud to know him and to bring you a conversation with a refined and yet down home rhythm and blues gentleman. And we encourage you to buy his CDs and to share your discovery with your friends.   continue