On July 15th, Arlo McKinley will release new album This Mess We're In via Oh Boy Records, and today he shares its latest preview with the tender, troubled and turbulent "Back Home." As one of the first songs he wrote for his most meditative and cinematic collection of music to date, "Back Home" features Logan Halstead on accompanying vocals, and finds the Cincinnati-based McKinley reckoning with a life in limbo. Opening with allusions to past addictions and friends he has lost to similarly devastating demons, McKinley's warm, oaky voice and unflinching honesty offer a reflection on the grief that coexists with the places and people he loves most. "This city is a symphony, that never seems to be in key," he sings, backed by an ace band of drummer Ken Coomer (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo), pianist Rick Steff (Lucero, Cat Power), mellotron from album producer Matt Ross-Spang (Margo Price, Jason Isbell), plus guitarist Will Sexton, fiddle by Jessie Munson, and more. "I've tasted every sin, spit 'em out and I tried again."
Listen to "Back Home" (feat. Logan Halstead) Here
Following the previously released "Stealing Dark From The Night Sky," and the brazen barnburner of "To Die For," "Back Home" is another step taken in This Mess We're In's journey towards brighter days and a better self. In the two years since his breakthrough 2020 LP, Die Midwestern, Arlo McKinley has emerged from an emotional fog that included the passing of his mother and multiple other loved ones, using these new songs as an internal compass to navigate his next chapter in such an uncertain world. Through the music he delivers "soft consolation in the midst of darkness" (NPR Music), "diversion from all manner of emotional demons" (Billboard), and "vibrant vignettes that'll have you laughing, crying, angry and gracious all in the span of a few minutes" (The Boot).
Currently overseas for his first international performances, Arlo McKinley's year has already brought a nonstop run of shows that's about to get even busier. After headlining the East Coast this spring, he has just announced a new leg of tour dates for July and August, featuring stops at Nashville's Brooklyn Bowl, Indianapolis' Hi-Fi, multiple appearances across the Midwest, South and more, in addition to singing the national anthem before a Cincinnati Reds game at his hometown's Great American Ballpark on July 23rd. Find the full list below and tickets at arlomckinley.com/#tour.
Watch Arlo McKinley perform a stripped down "Back Home," plus more songs from This Mess We're In during new sessions with GemsOnVHS and Paste, where he's previously racked up millions of views for powerful songs of "hard-won experience" (Rolling Stone), "existential crises, addictions and world-weary resilience" (The FADER), garnering comparisons to Tyler Childers, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson and more.