Artist of the Week – Sean McConnell aka Cold Country

Sean McConnell is Cold Country
Recently we made a road trip mixtape for a friend who was driving across the country (from California to New York) and included a couple of songs from an artist (among many others) that we have only recently become acquainted with. Our friend texted to ask why he had never heard of this “brilliant artist” before and we reminded him that we say that all of the time when we review music submissions from amazingly talented artists and bands that almost no one has heard of before. In fact, the archives of IRC feature thousands of such artists dating back to 2007, and most still have active song links, especially those published since 2009.

The reason he had not heard of the artist before is that we had not posted about him until now. He is Chicago-based singer, songwriter, musician and a highly sought audio engineer, Sean McConnell, who has been recording and releasing music under the moniker Cold Country throughout the summer. On June 28th, McConnell released his first EP, Missing the Muse, with a backup band. The EP was released exclusively via BandCamp. More recently, McConnell completed an in-house artist residency at Hill House in East Jordan, Michigan.

Prior to recording and engineering his own original music, McConnell has worked on releases with bands like The Bears of Blue River, Dastardly and Teenage Rage. His remarkable ear for the perfect notes and for just the right volumes and tones of certain instruments is apparent in the wonderfully dreamy song, “MIssing The Muse” – the same guitar and harmonica ballad that our traveling buddy has listened to “at least a dozen times” on his journey, “especially through the Great Plains where the land is as flat as a table for hundreds of miles in every direction, and where you see more cows than people for days on end” and “where you can still drive through one traffic light towns, sit at an old 50s-built counter with creaky old stools and get a grand midwestern breakfast with a smile for under six dollars.”

Cold Country’s songs, even though his a big city fella, capture a sense of time and place, weave bluesy harmonica with dreamy guitar playing and just the right touch of percussion. We always thought that audio engineers make great musicians, and Cold Country is a good example of that. The second song, “Carried By The Wind,” is also a fitting track on a road trip mixtape although it is a bit more energetic – a song more compatible with exiting the Great Plains and heading into the heart of the Mississippi River delta. There is no traveler from the West heading to the eastern United States that doesn’t cross the Mississippi River in some form or fashion on their journey across the United States.

As travelers who have done so by car, bus, and train (not counting airplanes), you don’t really know the country until you’ve traveled, on the ground, across it and can see and appreciate every day on your journey the changing landscapes, people, climates, cultures and music. Artists like McConnell, and thousands of others, contribute to the road trip experience, which is really the American experience, the right of passage, the freedom of the open road for thousands of miles into the future, and an open invitation to truly experience the amazing musical melting pot that America is.

“Missing The Muse”Cold Country from Missing The Muse

“Carried Away With The Wind”Cold Country from Missing The Muse

Check out Cold Country’s Facebook page

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  1. Sean IS indeed talented and brilliant in his writing. His album, To Providence, is my favorite, but there are some very good cuts on Libra as well! He’s worth the listen, and sometimes it takes a few listens to “get him.”

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