Maggie McClure At The Hotel Cafe, Saturday April 15th 2017
Oklahoma-via-Los-Angeles singer-songwriter Maggie McClure played an intimate concert at the Hotel Café on Saturday night, and after a few technical problems – which lately seem to affect every concert regardless of their size… did you watch Radiohead at Coachella? – her light and bright compositions did float happily in the cozy venue.
Maggie has one of these bright and youthful voices, that she can effortlessly bring to ravishing heights, while her piano-driven songs always seem to be the soundtrack of some romantic comedy. She played some of her old songs, alternating with more recent ones, and she was cheerfully going from light nostalgia to plain upbeat mood. She even played some of her new singles with their spring-like catchy tempos, such as ‘Be Right Here For You’, and ‘Do it all again’ and she surely showed us she could package gentle hooks and sing along choruses inside bouncy melodies.
Sitting behind her piano, she had a Disney princess presence, the type of aura that reminds you about Hollywood light comedies and musicals, and when I was precisely thinking about this, she said she had five songs (including the happy-hooky ‘Coming Home’) featured in an upcoming movie, ‘A Cowgirl’s Story’, directed by Timothy Armstrong and starring Pat Boone, which should be out very soon (April 18th to be exact). Maggie has actually been really good at placing her songs on TV shows (Cougar Town, The Real World, The Vineyard, The Hills, to only name a few) as well as in films.
Surrounded by a full band, including a childhood friend from Oklahoma, she and her musicians even performed the very freshly recorded ‘Magic Man’, which sounded like a melancholic waltz on piano, and the Disney princess impression could not have been more obvious than during the cute song she sang with her husband, fellow musician and Oklahoma native Shane Henry, who backed her up on vocals and whistling.
Maggie McClure has recently opened for Sara Bareilles, Alicia Witt, Walk Off The Earth, Tony Lucca,… and her third album, ‘Time Moves On’, that she released in 2014, was produced by Justin Glasco, who has worked with many artists including Andrew Bird, Avril Lavigne, Garrison Starr, Matt Berninger, and Dan Wilson – the musician/singer/songwriter who co-wrote ‘Someone Like You’ with Adele… and it’s always good to have a few degrees of separation with Adele!
Maggie McClure’s performance at the Hotel Café may have been far away from the over-produced stadium-show happening in the desert at the same moment – didn’t Lady Gaga performed at Coachella that same night? – but it was a sincere and heartfelt one. She is more a Carla Rae Jepsen type (to whom she has been compared), with a solid foot in a big city like Los Angeles and a heart still in her small town in Oklahoma,… but her sugar-coated vocals mixed with playful melodies were certainly here to bring a feel-good moment of sweetness.