Sean Patrick McGraw
|SEAN PATRICK MCGRAW
Just a few years ago, mid the two-day mainstream country, bluegrass, folk, roots rock and alt-country bonanza that was the third annual Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California, the unlikely last-minute addition of Sean Patrick McGraw to The Main Stage line-up proved a surprise high point of the weekend. “Letting his freak flag fly” with the psychobilly swagger of a true country rocker, McGraw caught the attention of the record-setting crowd, industry insiders, and media heavyweights alike sparking his run as one of the hardest working touring acts on the country music scene today.
According to August Brown of the Los Angeles Times, “His early contender of a hit, ‘A Dollar Ain't Worth a Dime,’ is one of the first of what will surely be many recession-themed laments, but unlike John Rich's ‘Shutting Detroit Down,’ McGraw keeps his sociology enticingly vague, warning that ‘People do desperate things in desperate times/ if a man don't turn to Jesus, he'll turn to crime,’ but it doesn't feel like Christian proselytizing -- more an acknowledgment that neither course of action is likely to help in the long run.”
This performance lit a fire of further drive and determination by McGraw and before the end of May 2009, he was signed to Little Engine Records, releasing a single, an EP and set out on a non-stop coast to coast tour. CMT added his debut single and video into rotation, as he racked up endorsement deals and an offer to perform on one of the top tours of the year with mega star Toby Keith. Since late 2009, McGraw as logged in more miles than one can count traversing the states performing, visiting countless radio stations and participating in numerous charitable events near and dear to him.
Fast forward to September 2011 you will find McGraw supporting his latest release My So Called Life featuring songs written or co-written by McGraw, featuring the poignant and introspective ballad “What I’d Do,” that McGraw wrote. The title track is currently featured on the upcoming Montgomery Gentry fall 2011 release and has been featured on several TV shows this past year. Another song, “Get Ur Cowboy On” was the lead off music for the Westwood One Super Bowl special this year. For an “indie” artist, McGraw’s resume’ reads like a seasoned artist that has all the assets of a major label deal. Over the past year, he has toured with such acts as the aforementioned Toby Keith, Eric Church and Dierks Bentley, been sponsored or is sponsored by Budweiser, Jagermeister, Harley-Davidson, Fender, Harley Davidson Footwear, Georg Roth Clothing, Summit Hotels and Condom One.
His infectious personality, no holds barred live show and deep well of talent as caught the attention of many fans including the gate keepers and on air personalities as many of the country music radio’s top stations. After a performance earlier this year at the Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort, followed by a performance at Indian Ranch with Travis Tritt, several radio station’s employees took a huge interest in helping McGraw becoming huge advocates for him and his talent. This phenomenon hasn’t stop there, as other station’s teams have engaged in the McGraw affect offering support in a variety of areas from booking radio tours to main stage performances at various country music festivals across the country.
“I couldn’t have asked for more support in my wildest dreams,” says a humbled and appreciative McGraw. “I know how hard this business is and what it takes from the monetary to the talent side and I don’t take any of it lightly. I am just blown away by the support of the industry, as well as the numerous companies that have engaged in me with their ‘sought after’ endorsements.”
He is a work horse and is not ashamed to talk about it. Not only through his music, but through is incredible work ethic. Call it Irish grit. “If you grew up where I grew up,” McGraw recalls, “you were automatically hyphenated either Irish, Polish, or Italian, and your dad worked in the mill, that was a given.” Hailing from a small steel industry town about 50 miles outside of Buffalo, New York, McGraw was raised on Hee-Haw (“We loved Conway Twitty, or at least his haircut”) and rough games of hockey and football. Small for his age and showing little athletic promise, he gravitated towards music, and good thing. He spent a lot of time in SoCal upon graduation and developed a keen eye for finding old vinyls are classic country music at the Pasadena flea market and knew that is where is heart was leaning.
It soon became evident that Nashville was where McGraw belonged, so after a two-week trip and a couple nights at The Bluebird Café, McGraw made the move to Music City and hit the ground running. He soon signed a publishing deal with Liz Rose, and went on to write for Curb Magnatone. Despite some disappointments, including a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stint on Nashville Star and as a member of the Brett Beavers band The Unforgiven (“We had some buzz for about a minute”), McGraw always found a way to pay the bills with music, impersonating Glenn Frye in an Eagles tribute band, taking sideman gigs with Dean Miller and Steve Holy, doing session work and continuing to write songs.
It’s a crazy life, and McGraw looks upon it with bemused satisfaction in “My So Called Life,” reflecting, “Some days I own this town, other days it shoots me down/Always I’m still hanging round, holdin’ on to hope.” Expertly depicting the driving pace of his “Honky Tonk Life,” McGraw stubbornly continues to hope: “I could quit all this road stuff, go back to my real job, put in a straight 9 to 5/But I love the neon, I love the people, and I love the Honky Tonk Life.” For Sean Patrick McGraw, the honky tonk life is the only life. “I never gave myself a plan B,” he says. “I never decided to grow up. I never got anything the easy way, and I’m proud of that.”
Sean Patrick McGraw - "What I'd Do":
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