Brian McKenzie
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Brian McKenzie

Providence, Rhode Island, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Providence, Rhode Island, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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92PROFM.COM Spotlight: Brian McKenzie

92PROFM.COM: Describe your music.
Brian McKenzie: I write acoustic-based singer/songwriter material. It has elements of Americana, a little bit of country (I lived in Nashville for a bit) and a little bit of the "crooner" style vocals. A club owner once described it as "Ameri-Crooner," haha. I’m a big fan of everyone from Chris Isaak, Ryan Adams, Pete Yorn, and Glen Phillps to classic voices like Dean Martin, Bobby Darin, Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash. I think the music shows elements of all of those influences.

92PROFM.COM: How did you get started?
Brian: I’ve been writing songs since I was 12 years old. My first band was signed to a division of Warner when I was 19. I toured the country a bunch of times and put out 2 records with them. Over the course of many years I've consistently written, performed, and put out 3 solo albums. Last year, the LA based indie label, Cloverdale Music, put out my latest album, "Resolution".

92PROFM.COM: Give us your best story about performing/making music:
Brian: I have a ton of crazy road stories from back in the day, but I think my favorite story is in my song "Tennessee". While I lived in Nashville, I had written some music and a melody that was stuck in my head for a while. I needed the lyrics, but hadn’t gotten around to them yet. My sister told me that she and her husband were planning on having a baby, so I decided it was time to move home to Rhode Island. When I saw her, she told me to close my eyes and put out my hand. I did, and opened them to see a pair of knitted baby booties. The lyrics came completely to me when my nephew was born. That song means the most to me out of anything I have ever written.

92PROFM.COM: Where are your favorite local spots to perform:
Brian: We’ve been enjoying playing in Boston and Cambridge. There’s a great local scene there, and people really listen to the music. Toad, in Cambridge, is a great venue. As far as Rhode Island, I do like the Met, Nick-a Nees, and Fete. They have a great thing going on. Honestly, though, RI’s scene is not like it used to be. My favorite places to play are closed and most bars and venues focus on cover bands. I’d like to see a resurgence in the support of local music.

92PROFM.COM: Where are your favorite spots to go after the show?
Brian: Nick-a-Nees, E&O, and the Avery are all great spots. Each has a cool atmosphere and a good tap.
92PROFM.COM: It’s Saturday, you're hung-over, where you go to eat?
Brian: Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub. Man I love that place. The placemat is a beer list, and the food is great. Get the Ragin Cajun Chicken Sandwich. I’m tellin ya...

92PROFM.COM: Who are the other local performers you like to listen to?
Brian: My friend and former band mate Jay Berndt has some great material, as do Jeff Byrd and Dirty Finch, and John Colvert. I’m also a big fan of local rapper Storm Davis.

92PROFM.COM: What are your favorite things to do in Rhode Island?
Brian: The beaches. We really do have the best beaches in New England, hands down. Besides the beach, my favorite spot in the state is the Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown. I’ve written many a tune there. Next best thing? The food. RI has unbelievable food (especially Italian). There’s great food in every city and town. So what’s better than that? - 92PROFM.COM

Brian McKenzie nominated for Male Vocalist of 2012 - Limelight Magazine

Brian McKenzie and the End of the Line performs "Tennessee," the song that won them the second week of competition in The Rhode Show's Big Break. - FOX Providence

Visit the link to view the nomination. - The Providence Phoenix

*Live Performance on FOX Providence* - Go to link to view

(FOX Providence) - Former Metal guitarist, Brian McKenzie, is now singing Nashville with a 70s vibe. He's back in Rhode Island, and just released a new CD.

After spending what he calls "a couple of grinding years on the road with Kilgore", McKenzie says he "put down the axe, picked up my acoustic" and left the band, spending two years in Nashville.

McKenzie says, “Resolution is my most mature CD yet. The time I spent in Nashville shows on this one.”

Prior releases include “Days Like These” in 2003 and in 2004, “and Always September.”

The Brian McKenzie band members, all Rhode Island natives are:

* Brian McKenzie, 35, resident of Providence; lead singer, guitar.
* Caleb Cook, 32, resident of Warren, RI; bass.
* Chris Farias, 33, resident of Tiverton, RI; guitar, mandolins, vocals.
* Chris Piccirillo, 33, resident of Warwick, RI; drums.
* Lisa-Rose McKenzie O'Connor, resident of Cranston, vocals.

“Resolution” is available on Itunes. Brian McKenzie's website is: - FOX Providence

Brian McKenzie has a new EP out, Resolution, sure to bring out your country swagger...

...It’s as if McKenzie was always heading toward the laid back country style he showcases in “Resolution.” His talents progressively become more and more refined.

...On “Resolution,” his singer-songwriter talents find a comfort level as he eases into songs such as “Tennessee,”... McKenzie sticks close to crooning much like some of the better contemporary country artists getting air play. In the end, ‘Resolution’ is a straight up, authentic country disc that smartly suits Brian McKenzie's talents.

Jim Vickers - Motif Magazine (Jan 19, 2011) - Motif Magazine

Sometimes you just know when an artist gets it right. We're not necessarily talking about commercial viability or hit-making potential. On the contrary, getting it right should mean something far more substantial in the world of a creator. In Brian McKenzie's case, the singer-songwriter, who splits his time between Providence and Nashville, accomplished his mission with dexterity and integrity to spare. Catapulting leaps and bounds away from his beginnings as founding member of the acclaimed Providence hardcore metal band Kilgore (Smudge), McKenzie has meticulously developed his songwriting prowess into a finely sharpened tool, which he now uses as a device for catharsis rather than attack. His latest solo project, …and Always September, is a deeply personal statement, which McKenzie readily admits, "came from a really dark time for me, but was sort of my therapy. I am happy that I chose the notes that sounded like I felt inside." Sadly, some artists go a lifetime without discovering that truism. Luckily for fans of his quality work, McKenzie truly puts that axiom to practice. Keeping Brian McKenzie's soul-bearing in mind makes the listening experience all the more worthwhile. Tracks like "Better Days" display a certain sense of internal denial which everyone with a heart has struggled with at one time or another: "Hoped that I would just hear you say you missed me like I missed you - It's ok, keep telling myself there will be better days ahead - And they say time is the healer, so I'll write it down a thousand times, till I heal.""Disguised" presents another facet of McKenzie's often complex mood, this time spotlighting ire and disappointment. Borrowing some ever-so-subtle shades from Dylan's 1975 divorce decree "Idiot Wind," McKenzie skillfully expresses some real hurt within the lines, "You left without a trace, your once angelic face, now I can't recognize you - What kind of fool was I to believe those words? They crumble into nothing, And all I did for you, all I gave to you, you can't even say goodbye." As with most of the projects hailing from Joe Moody's Danger Multitrack Studios, "…and Always September" is a highly polished piece of recorded work. Employing a rather clever and understated technique, Brian McKenzie utilizes looped bass lines and drum machines parts to accentuate his own guitar playing and vocal styling, thus complimenting his lyrics rather than eclipsing them. Although comparisons have been made to John Mayer, Chris Isaak, and even Depeche Mode, Brian McKenzie remains a unique and singularly talented example of the best of what the local scene has to offer. - Motif Magazine

One time metal guitarist (with the group Kilgore/Smudge) Brian McKenzie was drawn to singer/songwriter roots music as a mental escape from tours “packed like damned sardines in a cargo van.” He transitioned from electric guitar to acoustic relocated from Rhode Island to Nashville for a couple years, and honed his songwriting with the city’s pros. Now returned to the Ocean State, he’s cut this 7-song release. Judging by the retro country rock of the first two tracks McKenzie seems to have been listening to some classic B.J. Thomas sides, along with radio hits from one-time stars like Gallery, Lobo and the Stampeders. The productions are modern, but the melodies and harmonies sport a terrific ‘70s vibe. The remaining tracks are solid, hinting at Chris Isaak’s romantic croon and the thoughtful style of Gordon Lightfoot. [©2010 hyperbolium dot com] - Hyperbolium


"Days Like These" released 2003

"...And Always September" released 2006

"Resolution" released 2011 by Cloverdale Music and available through iTunes

Video for the single "Tennessee" from the album "Resolution" can be viewed on YouTube.

Video of live acoustic performance of "Ruined the Air" can be viewed on YouTube.



Brian started out his music career in the early 90s as the founding member, music writer, and guitarist of the heavy-rock band: Warner/Giant Records recording artists "Kilgore Smudge". After parting ways with the band (and the genre, itself) at the end of the decade, Brian continued to pursue his career as a singer songwriter. He released two solo albums, before releasing "Resolution" in 2011. The Recording Academy placed him on the Official Ballot for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards in the following categories for the album:

Best Country Solo Performance "Because of You"
Best Country Song "Isabel" and "Tennessee"
Best Country Album "Resolution"
Best Short Form Music Video "Waiting For You"

Brian has been endorsed by Blueridge guitars, Shubb Capos, and LRBaggs electronics, has a song in the Jonathan Silverman directed film "A Bet's a Bet", and is continuously performing throughout the Northeast and Nashville. 

His latest album, "Looking Over Yesterday" is due out in early 2015