Just five months after the release of “Future Sanctuary,” his long-awaited double album, Isaac Alexander has dropped another new LP. “Country McGee” was recorded at Cinderella Sound — a space with shag carpet on the walls that just happens to be Nashville’s oldest running independent studio — with the accompaniment of legendary session players like Wayne Moss, Lloyd Green, Charlie McCoy and Hargus “Pig” Robbins. All of these storied performers are in their 80s, boast their own Wikipedia pages and have appeared on the recordings of a truly unimaginable number of canonical country artists. They’re all worth a Google search.
In order to match the tone and legacy of this bunch, Alexander dug through his archives for songs that would best fit their strengths. He also wrote new material with the band in mind. To me, the record is a strong and successful detour into country sensibilities, but Alexander — in his typically self-effacing way — is reluctant to fully claim the genre. “Country was on my mind, but even if I try to write a country song or some kind of genre, it always kind of comes out sounding like an Isaac song,” he told me. “I’m shy to say that I tried to write country songs because I really don’t feel like I achieved that with a lot of these.”
“Country McGee” wasn’t supposed to land on streaming services until June, but sometimes the universe intervenes and forces your art into the world a little earlier than you expect. When I spoke with Alexander, he was a bit flustered, but accepting. “I feel like I’m just doing it all wrong, like usual,” he said. “But I’m glad it’s out.” Self-deprecation aside, Alexander’s favorite tune on the record is “These Voices,” which features a piano part that he fondly remembers figuring out with Robbins, who passed away in January 2022.
To learn more about Alexander, read our profile on him from earlier this year.