Marshall McLean jokes that he is the guy who quits playing music, and then writes a song about it.
That’s exactly how the local singer-songwriter describes the past year of his life, processing pain through song, and then finding something to dance about.
That journey of self-discovery comes to bear on McLean’s forthcoming album, “Glossolalia.”
“I wrote most of these songs coming to terms that I was done playing music. Last summer, the band I was in broke up and I was sort of disillusioned with the whole music lifestyle, so I retreated and started writing,” McLean said. “The first few songs were written as if no one was ever going to hear them and that I was not playing music anymore. I wrote the last song a month ago knowing full well that I’m going to make an album.”
Over the course of writing “Glossolalia,” McLean came out of his depression and was able to see what he wrote from the other side.
“ ‘Glossolalia’ is the Latin word for speaking in tongues. I grew up in the church, so that’s one of those vestigial words floating around in my brain. There’s a loose concept of a mosaic pieced together in an out-of-chronology story of my journey and circling back to find meaning.
“That goes with the concept of speaking in tongues when you’re not sure what you’re saying, but nevertheless there is a story there and you end up saying it in your own way. In this case it’s songwriting. At times, we as artists, we have to hunt down words. At other times the words find us and we channel that. That’s when we’re speaking in tongues and when we look back at what we wrote and it’s just like being the listener in a sense that you didn’t know you had that to say.”
Since the breakup of Horse Thieves, McLean’s former band, the new record finds McLean with a new lineup of local all-stars: pedal steel player Jamie Frost (The Makers, Silver Treason, Cursive Wires), bassist Justin Landis (Cedar & Boyer, Tennis), and drummer/producer Caleb Ingersoll (Cathedral Pearls), who also is recording the album, as well as opening the highly anticipated all-ages venue The Bartlett with his wife and bandmate, Karli.
Stylistically, McLean’s new band leans toward Northwest indie-rock and Americana, with less of the contemplative folk sound that many have become accustomed to.
“This shift is part of my own being tired of being an only contemplative singer-songwriter and gearing toward a more primal, dancey sound. There are a lot of indie-pop elements in this new record. It’s also partly because of Caleb’s drumming,” McLean said.
McLean and company recently surpassed their $4,000 goal via a Kickstarter campaign to fund the record. He expects to release it in September at The Bartlett.