Renee McCullough
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Renee McCullough

Arlington, Virginia, United States

Arlington, Virginia, United States
Band Americana Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Good Sounds Come In Small Packages"

Good Sounds Come in Small Packages

Renee McCullough, Jim Robeson and Jason Byrd blend blues and country into heartfelt songs.

Jason Byrd, Renee McCullough and Jim Robeson played at Arlington's Cowboy Cafe Friday night.

Renee McCullough is a tiny lady, with pale blond hair and sleepy eyes.

And then she starts to sing, a soft, sweet voice with the faintest hint of something suggesting a slight Southern accent, undertones of Stevie Nicks and Jewel.

When she and her backing band, featuring Grammy winner Jim Robeson on bass and Jason Byrd on acoustic and electric guitar, it was something to see.

Playing a set of originals and covers, all with a bluesy-country vibe, McCullough and the guys have an understanding—she's the front, they're the supporters, but it's clear all are comfortable in their roles. And McCullough is a gracious leader, stepping aside every few songs to let Byrd and Robeson share the spotlight.

McCullough opened their second set with a John Prine song, "Paradise," she demonstrated that she can play as well as she sings, rocking side to side with her acoustic guitar. Bassist Robeson complimented her plaintive singing with a gentle harmony, tender but not timid, while playing his backless electric bass.

Stepping away from the microphone for a glass of white whine, Robeson and Byrd played a handful of songs, including a cover of Roy Orbison's "Dream Baby." Robeson has a great velvety blues voice that can carry just enough twang to do the man with the omnipresent black sunglasses justice, and Byrd, trading his acoustic guitar for an electric one, used just enough echo to make his guitar sound like he was playing with a slide, adding depth without being too showy.

Byrd then took over the microphone, singing a cover of Reba McEntire's "How Blue," tuning his guitar by ear and singing with a voice not as deep as Robeson's but still clear, refined and sharp.

At this point McCullough rejoined her backers, picked up her guitar and launched, with a giggle, into another song.

This is an ensemble that is comfortable playing together, regardless who is singing lead. Robeson's bass is steady without too much syncopation, providing a rock-solid foundation on which McCullough can layer her vocals with Byrd's skilled guitar.

It was at this point it appeared something was missing--- there was no percussion, no drummer to keep time. Robeson and Byrd didn't need it. Both men were focused on their parts, not even tapping their toes, but kept their songs in perfect time. Impressive to say the least.

When she is standing in front of them, McCullough is clearly the star. But she is gracious, commenting between songs on the talent of the men accompanying her. This is a strong trio.

She's got a big voice singing another original song, "Pink Room," from her 2009 debut album, "Cool Me." Eyes closed, swaying back and forth, she's remembering something.

Here again she takes a break, leaving the microphone to Byrd, who launches into an original song of his own. He is wistful here, a slight smile that comes and goes, sounding a little like Ryan Adams, lyrical and poetic but not sappy. At the end of the song, Byrd apologizes for having to read the lyrics off some paper on the floor, this is a new song and he's still bringing it to life.

McCullough is as bubbly off stage as she is on. Sitting in a booth between sets, she's enthusiastic about playing and is quick to say she opened for Jack Ingram at the Birchmere in Alexandria. She's also very proud to be the recipient of a few awards from the Washington Area Music Association, including a few awards for her song "Baltimore."

"I'm doing more festivals now, playing some wineries, but I come back and play here about once a month," she says, adding that the owners of Cowboy Café are "my friends, my family."

More information on Renee McCullough, along with samples from her "Cool Me" CD, is available at - Ballston Patch---December 4, 2010

"Dutch Review"

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Home » CD recensie » Renee McCullough – Cool Me Renee McCullough – Cool Me

Singer-songwriter Renee McCullough staat in haar geboorteland Amerika al zo’n jaar of twintig te boek als iemand om in de gaten te houden. Niettemin heeft het tot nu geduurd voor ze debuteerde als ‘recording artist’. En na meermaals haar voortreffelijke cd ‘Cool Me’ te hebben beluisterd, vraag ik me – wederom – af waar sommige talent managers/scouts van de majors en de independents hun oren en ogen hebben zitten. Want Renee McCullough heeft al de kwaliteiten om te slagen in de muziekbusiness: de songs, de stem en de looks.

McCullough is er duidelijk niet op uit om in één hokje geplaatst te worden, al is de algemene noemer Americana hier wel op zijn plaats. Op ‘Cool Me’ grasduint ze met evenveel enthousiasme als overtuiging in altcountry (‘You Got Nothin’ On Me’ en het poppy ‘Rocket’), zinnelijke jazzy blues (het zalig verleidelijke titelnummer ‘Cool Me’), rock (‘Weeds’), folk (de heerlijk gezongen ballad ‘Pink Room’), country (‘Catastrophic’), gospel (‘Baltimore’), bluegrass (het aanstekelijke ‘Visionary Man’) en pianoballads (‘Wait And See’). En wat meer is, ze speelt het met schijnbaar gemak klaar om elke song een eigen ‘smoel’ te geven, ondanks de uiteenlopende genres.

Die eenheid in verscheidenheid is een eerste belangrijk kenmerk van McCullough’s aanstekelijke stijl. Een tweede is haar talent als songschrijfster. Het mag ouderwets klinken, maar elk nummer heeft een glasheldere opbouw: intro, refrein, solo en slot. Weinig avontuurlijk? Zonder discussie. Maar het werkt wel. En haar songteksten zitten doorgaans behoorlijk in elkaar, zonder meteen literaire hoogstandjes te zijn. ‘I’m no beauty / Lord knows I’m no rainbow / No silver lining / No not me / No mystic healing / No shiny fountain / Where the weary go / To drink’, klinkt het openhartig in ‘Visionary Man’. Terwijl je dit hoort, ben je geneigd haar tegen te spreken. En niet alleen omdat McCullough haar uiterlijk wél mee heeft.

Het derde en belangrijkste kenmerk van Renee McCullouch is haar kwikzilveren stem. Die sprankelt zo fris als een fontein op een zwoele zomerdag en is zo veelkleurig als een regenboog. Elke keer als ik haar hoor zingen, moet ik denken aan grote (country)diva’s als Loretta Lynn, Brenda Lee en Wanda Jackson, maar ook de namen van meidengroepen als de Ronettes en de Shangri-La’s duiken op als referentie.

‘Cool Me’ is daardoor een meer dan geslaagd debuut. De komende maanden zal de muziek van Renee McCullough gegarandeerd nog menigmaal door de boxen van Château Overheul schallen, en de kans dat ik de cd nog vóór de zomer uit mijn iPod zal verwijderen, is nagenoeg nihil.


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- Alt. Country

"New Music Spotlight"

New Music Spotlight
June 2010 Edition

Renee McCullough
Music Now Artist/Band Spotlight Weekly Series

Renee McCullough


Indie music Singer/Songwriter Renee McCullough possesses all the right elements that make her a sure win artist not to miss. Her driven endless passion and talent are a plus to what makes this artist a gem to listen to. Add in her love for making music and fans are going to be treated to one of the strongest female indie artists currently out in the indie music industry. In this recent spotlight with our Webzine, McCullough speaks openly about her humble beginnings and why she chooses to continue to make music. Here is what developed from our online conversation.

Isaac: Let’s get started with this interview. When and how did you first become interested in music? How long have you been playing music?

Renee: Music was a big part of my life growing up--I think I first fell in love with music at the age of seven. By age nine I had memorized every Bob Dylan lyric from both the Bringing It All Back Home and Free Wheelin Bob Dylan records.

Isaac: Who would you say are your biggest musical influences and why?

Renee: Most definitely they have been Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Beatles and Most recently---Lucinda Williams and Patty Griffin.

Isaac: What has been the greatest highpoint in your career so far?

Renee: The highpoint of my career so far is when I received a phone call from the Birchmere in Alexandria Virginia to open on the main stage for Jack Ingram! However, I think the day my CD was finally released ties.

Isaac: What has been the greatest disappointment in your career so far? What did you learn from that experience?

Renee: I suppose the biggest disappointment has been how utterly difficult and time consuming it can be to get work and showcase my talent. It's a tough and very competitive business. I've learned, however, that tenacity pays off in the end.

Isaac: What draws you to want to play the type of music that you do?

Renee: I suppose that would simply be the need to self-express.

Isaac: What do you feel it takes to play this type of music that you play?

Renee: Honesty and the true believe that most often less is better.

Isaac: What do you think you will create that will make your performances and who you are stand out in the music industry?

Renee: I believe my lyrics and the way I convey them provide intimacy and something that feels uncontrived--two things that I feel are so lacking in today's popular music scene.

Isaac: If you had the opportunity to do one cover, what cover would you do and why? How would you put your own spin on this cover?

Renee: This is a tough question--I've been inspired by so many artists and songs. Probably, an old blues or jazz cover-without a guitar in my hand--in front of a band--I always enjoy putting my guitar down from time to time so I can completely concentrate on my vocal--I don't get to do that very often.

Isaac: What does it take to be a good songwriter?

Renee: I believe that to be a good songwriter you must write from your gut through personal experience and sheer emotion. I only put down words when I'm feeling something---Not a big fan of formulated and planned in advance songwriting.

Isaac: How difficult is it to juggle music, family and work obligation, and life in general? Explain.

Renee: Where do I begin? Extremely difficult to juggle everything. To be honest, I often walk around guilty because I choose to give up a lot of time with my children and family and neglect from time to time my day job. I have made my music a priority in my life--right or wrong.

Isaac: What is your definition of being an Indie artist/band?

Renee: Being true to yourself--creating what you believe in--and never selling-out to an industry and a popular market that doesn't understand.

Isaac: Where can fans access your music online?

Renee: or MySpace: My music can also be heard and purchased through most outlets like CD Baby/iTunes/Amazon etc...

Isaac: In five years…….

Renee: In five years...I would like to think that I would still be writing music, playing as often as possible, working on perhaps my 3rd CD, and if lucky, having other well-known musicians/singers performing my songs.

Renee McCullough's Official Website

- Junior's Cave On-Line Magazine


Debut CD "Cool Me"
Released January 2010

Cd is available at CD Baby/Amazon/i tunes and most other electronic outlets



Singer/songwriter Renee McCullough has been performing her raw and unique brand of Americana for over twenty years. Her intimate style has received considerable attention, and the debut CD, “Cool Me”, released January 2010, was produced by Grammy award winning engineer, Jim Robeson of Bias Studios and includes the talents of many award winning and respected local musicians. In 2011 she signed with Creative & Dreams Music Network based in Nashville.

Renee began her musical journey playing folk venues in Washington DC, which included passing the basket alongside Mary Chapin Carpenter in the mid 1980’s. She performs regularly in venues located in the Baltimore/Washington area, and received an honorable mention from the 2008 Mid-Atlantic Song contest for her song "Pink Room”. Most recently, Renee was a finalist in the 2009 BMI/Smithsonian songwriters showcase and received an honorable mention in the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Song contest for her song “Baltimore”. She opened at the Birchmere in March 2010 for national recording artist Jack Ingram. In 2010 she was nominated for three Wammie Awards through the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) for best Folk Contemporary recording, Folk Contemporary Vocalist, and Debut Recording and in 2011 was again nominated as best Folk Contemporary Vocalist

Renee can work as a solo, duo, or with her full band.

Phone: 703-862-7372

Visit her on: