From the ticking percussion, the melodic piano, strumming acoustics and Judson’s heartfelt folk vocals, “Moonpie” is a combination of all the right sounds, played at the right time. It’s not your typically structured song, (intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, fin) but the lack of formal structure is what makes this song so interesting. It’s a journey, new tempos are introduced, new instruments inserted, the moods change like a directional change in the wind- these travels throughout the song call for attentive listening, yet Judson makes it so easy to remain enthralled in the tune. “Moonpie” tells the story of a missed love connection of a lifetime. Lyrics remind the listener of the inactions contributing to the missed chances that were there for the taking- “Never really, ever really had the time to tell you”, “You were popping a psych pill, I was looking for a new thrill, I never knew how much I hurt you”- these raw poetic lines have the power to serve as a wakeup call to listeners in a similar situation.
Originally from South Carolina, Judson McKinney made an unflinching decision to relocate to Los Angeles in hopes of furthering his musical career. While in LA, Judson released his breakout album “Drink the Wine”, headlined many notable venues including “The Troubadour”, consulted with fellow musicians including Aaron Embry of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Sheridan Riley of Avi Buffalo, charted in the top 100 on numerous AAA radio stations and landed in the top 100 Singer/Songwriter genre of iTunes- needless to say McKinney was BUSY making the most of his time in LA. Now back on home soil, South Carolina, Judson is busy creating his fourth studio album entitled “Confederate’s Last Farewell.”
Wet your musical appetite now, “Moonpie” is available today for your listening pleasure here.
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Hi Judson, congratulations and thank you for talking to us about your latest single “Moonpie”. Can you tell us what the meaning of the song is about for you?
Thank you Buzz Music LA for speaking with me about my new release of "Moonpie!" A few years ago I took a trip to Nashville with the hopes of meeting some suits in the business to help me get my music out there in a big way. Within a day, we met someone who was pushing songs for Miley Cyrus. "Wrecking Ball" to be exact. I got a chance to play for some folks in the business and I remember after the showcase thinking, "I've got to have an even better song." A song that works both instantly and throughout. I was out one night in Anderson, South Carolina, and recorded a melody on my Iphone while channeling the mood of the Southern architecture that cascades the streets. I ended up using it as the main hook, and then proceeded to write a song.
You’ve received guidance from some pretty prominent, experienced musicians; what about their advice has resonated with you most?
I think the first thing that comes to mind was from Michael Andrews (Donnie Dark soundtrack, Dewey Cox soundtrack), who said "Don't suck when you're on stage." Every performance counts, you don't want to go out there and ever be a disappointment. Also, the Phantom Street Artist (grafitti artist for Rage Against the Machine), advised us to study social movements. I think that's pretty wise advice when it comes to artistic relevance.
You have a simple yet complex sound profile, where does the creative process start for you to evolve into a finished product?
These days the creative process tends to start with a theme. For the album I'm working on now, that theme is South Carolina. Which leads to research about the subject matter, looking for the story. But it's not always like that. With "Moonpie," it was more about channeling a mood that's coming from my surroundings. In this case, the feeling of walking down a humid city street laced with Southern Architecture. I take that mood, translate it into a melody, and then proceed to construct a song, tinkering with it until it has a life of its own. Until it actually works as a song. Usually, there's trimming involved. Kind of like a gardener.
What has been your favorite performance or venue in Los Angeles? We can't wait to check out your next show!
I love performing Los Angeles! It's exhilarating every time. Headlining the Troubadour in West Hollywood was by far the most exciting live experience. There's history, legitimacy, and sound in that venue. There's a reason the Troubadour endures.
What are you most excited to bring your listeners this year?
I've been working on an album, "Confederate's Last Farewell," and I'll finish it this year. We successfully crowdfunded the money to accomplish the recording, and I think the fans are going to be pleased. There's never been an album quite like it.