If you’re not familiar with Arlo McKinley, he’s one of the most talented and captivating songwriters in country music right now. In fact, the Cincinnati native was the last artist signed to John Prine signed to his label, Oh Boy Records, before his death in 2020 – which should tell you a little bit about just what an incredible songwriter Arlo really is.
On his killer 2020 album Die Midwestern, Arlo managed to paint vivid pictures based on his real-life experiences and struggles of living in his midwest hometown, with songs like the title track “Die Midwestern” and “Bag of Pills.”
And now it’s time for the follow up.
The new 11-song album, This Mess We’re In, will be dropping July 15. And like the last album, it was recorded at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording Service Studio in Memphis with Grammy-winning producer Matt Ross-Spang.
Arlo’s already given us one preview of the new album when he released an acoustic performance video of the unreleased “Back Home” featuring young Appalachian phenom Logan Halstead.
And today we’re getting another taste of the new stuff after Arlo dropped a video for first single from This Mess We’re In.
Called “Stealing Dark From the Night Sky,” it’s a cosmic-sounding love story about trying to hide from the daylight with somebody who can take away the pain that often comes around in the dark.
Speaking about the new album, Arlo said that it showcases the growth he’s experienced in his own personal life since Die Midwestern was released two years ago:
“I’m private with a lot of things I go through, but in my songs, I’m honest about everything. So I started to write as a way of getting stuff out. To me, This Mess We’re In is a growth record.
I was navigating through a pretty bad time, but also there was the realization that it’s time to really change. My last album was me figuring out whether to stay or go from a very confused spot in my life. This one is trying to better myself – as a musician, as a human being, as a friend. I hope listeners can identify with the things they’re too ashamed to talk about or feel.
There’s such a stigma that goes along with things like addiction and mental health. I just want them to know that I go through all of that too. At least for the 47 minutes of the album, you can remove yourself from the world and just let everything disappear for a bit.”
And if these first two songs are any indication, this is going to be a can’t-miss album.
This Mess We’re In Tracklist 1. I Don’t Mind
2. City Lights
3. Back Home
4. Stealing Dark From the Night Sky
5. To Die For
6. Dancing Days
7. This Mess We’re In
9. I Wish I
10. Where You Want Me
11. Here’s to the Dying