Grammy®-nominated singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb started her career with the platinum-selling Number 1 hit song “Stay (I Missed You)” from the film Reality Bites. To this day, she is still the only artist to have a Number 1 single while not signed to a recording contract, a remarkable and unparalleled feat for an unsigned artist, though perhaps not a surprising one for the Brown grad girl with the cat-eye glasses, who at the time was already making her mark in New York’s burgeoning singer-songwriter scene.
The story of Loeb’s early success is well known. A native of Dallas, Texas, Loeb earned her degree in comparative literature from Brown University, where she experienced her first taste of real musical success with the duo, Liz and Lisa. The pair built a substantial following on campus and often booked shows in New York on the weekends. Fellow singer/songwriter Duncan Sheik also played in the band during Lisa’s final year of college. When Loeb moved to NYC after graduation, she continued to develop her vision, this time as a solo artist, and hone her artistic talents while carefully managing the business side of her career. This led to Reality Bites and “Stay” in 1994, and the rest, as we say, is history.
To rustle up inspiration for his award-winning third album Morning in Glen Burnie, Tom McBride dug deep into his record collection.
“I was trying to identify those songs that I loved as a child and still enjoy now,” he explains. “I looked backwards a little bit and dug deeper into some older folk, pop, and country songs by artists like Roy Orbison, Buck Owens, and George Jones. I was challenging myself to simplify my writing, to really dig into more traditional forms and melodies.”
“Put really simply,” he sums up, “I just tried to write good songs.”
With an eye on the classics, McBride wrote the songs that eventually became Morning in Glen Burnie, a modern album steeped in an old-school blend of Americana, blues, soul and pop/rock. Many of the songs were inspired by Nashville, the town where he launched his music career in the early 2000s. McBride recorded Morning in Glen Burnie closer to his hometown, though, setting up shop just outside of Boston. Another Beantown native, Kimon Kirk (Grant-Lee Phillips, Aimee Mann), signed on as producer.
“We recorded at Dimension Sound Studios with an excellent engineer, Dan Cardinal, and a band that included a full rhythm section, organ, and electric guitar,” McBride says. “Many of the tracks on the album are either the second or third attempt of the song. We’d go over the forms together in the mixing room, talk about the vibe of the song together, and then we’d go play it. Just painless, and a lot of fun.”
The result is a breezy, classic-sounding record that splits the difference between all of McBride’s influences, from the country sway of the Mavericks to the crooning pop of Sam Cooke. It’s the sound of a singer/songwriter working with a well-oiled band. It’s already begun gathering its own buzz, too, with the Mid-Atlantic Songwriters Association awarding its prestigious gold prize to the album’s first track, “But I Don’t Care.”
The Boston native has logged over 300 shows across the country over the past few years, has performed at CMJ, Folk Alliance & SXSW and his songs have been featured on AAA-radio stations across the country as well as within print and on-line magazines like American Songwriter, Spark Magazine, & Bootleg Magazine among many others. McBride has recently shared the stage with notable acts such as Dawes, William Elliot Whitmore, Futurebirds, Ellis Paul, Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed, Ben Taylor, Charlie Mars among others.