About Kevin McLeod
Music has extraordinary transformative power, both for the musician and listener. It's what I'm always trying to tap into, regardless of the musical style or setting.
Once upon a time music was an important part of a culture. Songs were sung for joy and celebration, to ease the pain of life’s troubles, and to transcend the boundaries between worlds. It is this lineage that inspires me to create.
My most recent CD is called 'Careless Truth'. It contains nine new songs. This is not pop music. The songs on Careless Truth come from the deeper traditions of American Music that inspire me - Blues, Jazz, Folk and Rock influences are all present. The lyrics and music were written as directly as possible, hence the album’s title. Some serious issues are addressed like homelessness, politics, depression and addiction, as well as brighter topics like love and family life. The album was recorded using many vintage guitars and amps, and has a classic American Rock sound. I was happy to work with some fine musicians and record at an excellent studio.
The Kevin McLeod Band is a six piece group that takes my songs to the next level via inspired performances and group improvisation. The band features some of the area's finest musicians. I am also a member of NYC Jazz group True To Life and LI Jazz group The Tone Healers. I have appeared on cable TV programs such as Wes Houston Presents, and played at NYC clubs such as The Way Station, The Shrine, The Sidewalk, Silvana, Googie's Lounge (Upstairs at The Living Room), CBGB's, The Alphabet Lounge and Kavehaz. I have played for many festivals & folk music societies in addition to many cafes, clubs, & restaurants in the NY area and along the east coast. My music has been played on NY radio stations such as WBAB, WFUV, and WUSB, as well as other stations across the USA, in Europe and Australia. All of my songs are available for download from Apple Music, Spotify and other digital download services.
In addition to my own CDs you can hear my guitar playing on releases by The Kathy Fleischmann Band, Kathy Fleischmann, Geoffrey Armes, The EVT Band, DeStefano & McLeod, Tom FitzPatrick, and Phil DeStefano.
From 1996 thru 2000 - I was writing songs and instrumental pieces, recording, and performing as part of Acoustic Folk/Jazz Duo DeStefano & McLeod. Our "Coloring the Sky" CD was well-received by acoustic-format radio programs across the country. DeStefano & McLeod were twice featured on the Cable TV Program LT1. We performed at Long Island's festivals such as the Huntington Fall Festival, The Northport Historical Society Music Series, and at concerts sponsored by some of Long Island's Folk Music Societies such as The Good Times Coffeehouse, and The Eclectic Café. We also performed regularly at Border's and Barnes & Noble Bookstores, and at other Long Island Coffee Houses. We played some interesting gigs in NYC at CBGB's Gallery and at the Sidewalk in the East Village.
From 1994 to 1996 I played electric guitar in a jazz group with Phil DeStefano called "Straight Ahead". We played jazz standards and a few of my original jazz compositions. The band played bars such as Chesterfields in Huntington and were featured at the Huntington Summer Series in Hecksher Park and the Northport Summer concert series as well.
I was accepted into the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in 1992 and spent 3 years in the workshop broadening my composition and arranging skills in a big-band jazz context. I learned much from composers Manny Albam & Jim McNeely, who led the workshop, as well as the other musicians/composers in the workshop.
I was one of ten jazz composers selected to participate in an ASCAP Jazz Workshop in 1991. It was quite an experience listening to jazz great Gerry Mulligan discussing my music with Larry Rosen from GRP Records and Steve Backer who was at RCA Records at the time. It was an honor to have Gerry defend my music when a singer who was present objected to it being called jazz. Gerry responded, "This piece of music has angular melodies in the head section which have a long history in jazz , some free blowing in another section, and lots of group improvisation - this is the jazziest music I've heard here today!"
I am a founding member of NYC Jazz/R&B/Funk group True To Life. True To Life self-produced 2 recordings of original music. 'Dirty Fingers' was released in 1989, and 'Easy Street' was released 1992. True To Life were selected as one of the 12 Best Unsigned Bands by Musician Magazine in 1990, a year when more than 3,000 bands submitted recordings. True to Life played quite a bit in NYC and NJ and opened for smooth-jazz favorites such as Onaje Allen Gumbs & Marion Meadows. The band featured myself on guitar, Michael Porter on bass, Frazer Adams on drums, and Guenther Reider on alto, tenor, & soprano sax and keyboards.