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New Artist Releases Debut Album

Douglas Boultinghouse
Staff Writer    

 Courtesy of
Jon McLaughlin

   Pop/rock singer and songwriter, Jon McLaughlin (not to be confused with 1960s jazz musician, John McLaughlin) released his debut album May 1. 

   The Anderson, Ind., native titled his album “Indiana” as a tribute to where he comes from.  The album demonstrates his gifts as both a master on the piano and a lyrical genius. 

   Though labeled as McLaughlin’s debut album, “Indiana” is technically his third.  He released two independent albums as demo records before landing his label deal with Island Records.

   The album includes the tracks “Industry,” “Beautiful Disaster,” “Just Give It Time,” “Already In,” “For You from Me,” “Human,” “Indiana,” “Anthem for American Teenagers,” “People,” “Amelia's Missing,” “Praying to the Wrong God,” “Perfect” and “Until You Got Love.”

   Four tracks on the album stand on a scale much higher than the rest.  The four include the two singles “Beautiful Disaster” and “Human.”

   “She prays one day she'll find someone to need her / She swears there's no difference between the lies and compliments / It's all the same if everybody leaves her / And all the magazines tells her she's not good enough / The pictures that she sees makes her cry / She would change everything, everything, just ask her / Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster / She just needs someone to take her home,” McLaughlin sings on his first single.

   The song tells a very realistic story of all the troubles young adults face.  The accompaniment of the piano only adds to the magic.

   The inspirational track, “Human” also demands attention.

   “Can you tell me how we got in this situation / I can't seem to get you off my mind / All these ups and downs they / They trip up our good intentions / Nobody said this was an easy ride / After all, we're only human / Always fighting what we're feeling / Hurt instead of healing / After all we're only human / Is there any other reason / Why we stay instead of leaving,” he sings to a past love.

   With one listen to this song, you are instantly reminded “we’re only human.”  We all make mistakes, but we learn from them and life goes on.

   The title track “Indiana” literally takes you back to his hometown.

   “I'm glad I never lived next to the water / So I could never get used to the beach / And I'm glad I never grew up on a mountain / To figure out how high the world could reach / I love the miles between me and the city / Where I quietly imagine every street / And I'm glad I'm only picturing the moment / I'm glad she never fell in love with me,” he sings with only his piano providing the music.

   The lyrics sadly depict his town through a failed relationship.  The emotion in his voice, as well as the brilliant use of keys gives this song the makings of a masterpiece.

   He continues, “I wonder how it feels to be famous / But wonder is as far as I will go / Because I'd probably lose myself in all the pictures / And end up being someone I don't know. / So it's probably best I stay in Indiana / Just dreaming of the world as it should be / Where every day is a battle to convince myself / I'm glad she never fell in love with me.”

   “Amelia’s Missing” sticks in my head so much that I find myself humming the song at random moments.

   “I can't find Crazy Horse, can't find Hoffa / And Amelia's missing somewhere out at sea / And I hope they're happy, havin' a party / And Elvis is servin' them up green apple martini's / I can't find my watch / I can't find my wallet / So how in the hell am I supposed to find … / The one that I love / The one that I need / Hidden so high / Buried so deep,” he sings.

   The song could be taken several ways.  With all the metaphorical lyrics, I don’t even know how to comprehend them.  Despite that, I cannot stop listening to the song.  Something about it draws me in.  Just as it will you.

   Along with Graham Colton’s “Drive,” “Indiana” holds it’s own as one of my favorite albums.

   An interesting piece of trivia about Jon McLaughlin makes his album even more incredible.

   McLaughlin, who grew up playing piano, was in an accident in high school and broke both of his wrists.  This obviously affected his musical ability.

   In the following years, he “regained his muse,” according to his official Web site.  He then attended Anderson University to study music and later found his way to a record label.

   McLaughlin has toured with artists that include Marc Broussard, Sara Bareilles and Matt Wertz.  McLaughlin can be found on tour with Kelly Clarkson through December, when he will embark on a few headlining gigs across the nation.

   For more information, such as accurate tour dates and the ability to purchase his album, visit his Web site or MySpace.

   Have a comment? Please e-mail us.

ŠThe Voice 2007
01/13/2008 03:13:42 PM —