Kim McLean
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Kim McLean

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE | AFM

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE | AFM
Band Americana Blues


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"Kim McLean Review from Taylor Guitar''s Magazine"

Kim McLean’s new CD, Happy Face, is a major milestone on McLean’s journey to develop her own artistic vision. The North Carolina native and now Nashville-based singer and instrumentalist is a seasoned writer whose songs have been recorded by Tim McGraw, Shana Morrison, Trisha Yearwood, and the Judds, among others. She has made a reputation as a writer and producer for other artists, but her own sound has continued to evolve over the course of several albums, one prior solo effort, and a return to her maiden name (she previously recorded under Kim Patton-Johnston).
The new CD finds McLean in a groove, with a strong batch of songs, lovely vocals, competent guitar chops, and the expert backing of players (Eddie Bayers, John Willis, Dave Hungate, Russ Pahl) who have been with her long enough to share the same skin. The empathy shows, and it’s a tight musical ride from the first track, “Cryin’ Days,” co-penned with Mark Narmore, which stays with you as much for the upbeat sonics as the simple, cut-to-the chase lyrics (“I had a bad idea but I dropped it. Let there be no more Cryin’ Days.”).
The remainder of the CD has a sprinkling of soft, country/pop stories (including harmonies with Dolly Parton on “Angels and Eagles”), and some harder-edged rockers laced with electric and acoustic guitars, fiddle, and the occasional woodwind, flute, and horn. The vocals and instrumentation maintain interest on every cut and never bury the inspiration, aided by engineer George Tutco, who kept the tracks open and alive.
McLean is opening up to a broader audience by gently crossing musical boundaries on this album. She talks about having a “twang factor” (she hails from North Carolina and has written a lot of country music), but her writing exhibits the diversity of her admitted influences, including rockabilly, gospel, Rufus Wainwright, Sting, and Bonnie Raitt. McLean’s spiritualism also weaves through this CD, but the songs are grounded in her life, as exemplified by “Life in a Frame”, McLean’s personal favorite.
Although McLean was a piano composition major, guitar has become her primary instrument; her main studio and live guitars are two of her five Taylors, which McLean played on every track of the album. — Julie Bergman

- Wires and Wood

"Various Industry Reviews"

“Kim McLean is one of the most gifted and giving people in Nashville. Her talents as a songwriter and singer have long made Kim one of Music Row's hottest properties, and she is fast becoming a Nashville icon as a record producer and music executive.” --Phil Sweetland, Country music and radio contributor, The New York Times

“Kim is a truly gifted singer/songwriter, a “veteran of a thousand psychic wars, “ and the epitome of her genre.” -- Robert DeGraw, Jr, creator of

—I thought this was a new artist until I looked closer. It’s our old buddy, singer-songwriter Kim Patton Johnston re-billed as what I assume to be her birth name. This track’s melody is as lovely as heirloom lace. Floating above her lead vocal throughout is the ethereal soprano harmony of Dolly Parton. -- Robert K. Oermann, MusicRow Magazine

- Music Row

"Kim McLean's Visit with BBC's Bob Harris"

Forthcoming sessions on the show include:
15th July - Kim McLean (aka Kim Patton-Johnston); 22nd July - Jim Lauderdale; 29th July - Mindy Smith

Bob Harris with Kim McLean and Devon O’Day. You can hear this show by launching the BBC Radio Player at, then inputting Kim McLean in the search box. Hear Kim Play LIVE!

- BBC Radio 2


Soul Silhouette - 2000
The Call - 2001
My Name is Not Susan - 2003
Single - One Less Monkey
Happy Face - 2004
#1 Inspirational Country Single - Unapologetic
#10 Inspirational Single - Angels & Eagles w/Dolly Parton
God's Lyrics - 2005
Songwriter Gospels - 2006
Soul Solace - 2008
Rapunzel's Escape - 2009
New Single - Ain't No Glory - impacting country radio April 2009

Kim McLean is an artist on Hippie Chick Twang Records with international airplay from her secular releases, especially on her single "Angels and Eagles", her duet with Dolly Parton.

In Spring '09 Kim will release the single "Ain't No Glory" to radio, from her new album Rapunzel's Escape. She will be using international promotion, media, and a radio tour to support the single at country, college, and NPR stations.



Kim McLean has spent a lifetime writing award winning songs that people want to sing. Originally hailing from the NC/VA border hills, Kim's had over 200 songs recorded by artists like Shana Morrison, Eve Selis, Tim McGraw, Lee Ann Womack, Trisha Yearwood, and more. Her writing won her a Dove Award for Song of the Year in the Gospel genre. She's been heard on TV's JAG, West Wing, Coldcase, West Wing, Hope & Faith, and more. Her most recent song credit is on Bettye Lavette's latest Grammy nominated project produced by the Drive By Truckers.

Over and over, the question was asked..."Why don't YOU record your songs?" She followed through and the results are signature, in her CD, "Happy Face". Dolly Parton was so touched by the music, she joined Kim on "Angels and Eagles" for a hit duet.

Kim McLean is a stellar guitar player holding endorsements with Taylor Guitars, Gibson Electrics, and Luna Acoustics. Kim also endorses Audio Technica microphones as well. She has played and sung on a variety of major label sessions for award winning artists.

Her new CD, Rapunzel's Escape will be released worldwide to country, college, AAA, and NPR stations with advertising, promotion, and tour support. Kim McLean has her own media and street teams to promote all her gigs.

Kim McLean moves easily between folk-country-and blues music with original songs that are so well written they sound like familiar covers. Her gift as a songwriter is the catalyst for her touring career.