When it comes to describing his band’s sound, Clark McLane likes to stick with “electric folk,” but says it doesn’t stop there.
“I’m sure it could be Americana,” guitarist and vocalist McLane wrote in an email. “There’s some twang in there, but there’s a groove too. Part of the experience is storytelling for sure.”
Based in Lock Haven, The Clark McLane Band released its first studio album, “Commonfolk,” in June. McLane’s approach to their sound reminds me of what happened with mixed-martial arts in America, back when it began and was relatively underground. It was a style versus style event before the fighters started blending the styles and ultimately being more effective.
Still, although the styles have merged, the Clark McLane Band could be considered the Brazilian jiujitsu practitioners of the local music scene, approaching their music in a traditional format, but adding in different elements to make it decidedly unique, and with some funny business to boot.
“We are a four piece with an acoustic, electric guitar, electric bass and full drum kit,” McLane wrote. “We aren’t hard to get along with. We just got told that someone could feel the American spirit when we play. There’s harmonies and progressions that sound like bluegrass, there’s an electric guitar that can best be described by pork products.”
Mclane’s humor works because the music is good. In “Commonplace,” it’s easy to hear how many influences pervade its music.
“The album title does reflect an attitude of the band,” McLane wrote. “That is to say (I) engage the room as a friendly everyday stranger that welcomes audiences into the original material of the band. You may walk away with the experience of sitting on a front porch on a Sunday, but you will also get a chance to dance too.”
The songs “A Horse and a Badge,” “Standin Still” and “October Leaves” are available for free on the band’s website, and there’s a great sampling of the band’s original music. Each song starts off with an articulate lick, or at least an articulate vibe and morphs into a harmony-laden, jangly guitar-driven, harmonica highlighted montage of beauty.
“The songwriting is captivated with the essence of folk,” McLane wrote. “It’s the motion of the language as well as the collective voice. It sort of moves at its own pace, the body politic in the vernacular, if you will. The musicianship is interested in their own unique pocket of sound.”
With gigs all around the region, from Williamsport to (hopefully) State College, the plan is to keep it going and to expand.
“Well the idea is certainly to expand our region,” McLane wrote. “We are hitting our stride with our own sound and are on our way to a second album.”
Whatever the band gets around to doing in the coming months, it is certainly making an impact on local audiences.
“Their music makes you feel at home,” wrote local artist and music supporter Tara Myers. “They’re great guys who happen to be exceptionally talented at sharing stories that resonate and entertain. They get up there, have fun with it, and love what they do — and it’s contagious.”
For more on the band, visit www.clarkmclaneband.com.