Ambition that took Callie McCullough across the Atlantic to perform in Europe right after college and a passion for different various bluegrass styles born out of Canada, Appalachia and of course the heart of Music City, reveal an artist who chooses not to rest her creative laurels on the singularity of one approach to the traditional roots sub-genre.
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Now with the arrival of “After Midnight,” the title track from her forthcoming EP, McCullough adds another stripe of sonic worldliness to her increasingly beloved repertoire.
Premiering today on American Songwriter, “After Midnight” is a perfectly sized three-minute song that flies by with the same kind of whirlwind delight as do the minutes of an exciting date with someone new. As it turns out, this lovely imagined scenario is close to where McCullough’s mind was when the song came together during one raging winter night in the Great White North.
“I wrote this song with one of my favorite writers Scotty Kipfer while we were literally snowed in in Canada one January.” says McCullough. “I had been sitting on the melody idea for a few weeks,” she continues, “Scotty started playing this Parisian sounding guitar part and before we knew it we had this sweet little song reminiscent of what Midnight in Paris might sound like and that’s the sound we were able to bring to life on the record.”
Coming away with that kind of feeling before knowing what McCullough was thinking when she wrote the song just emphasizes how well the intended emotion of the music ultimately came through.
“’After Midnight’ is about being apart from someone you love and drifting into a dream where anything is possible and you get to be together again,” says McCullough. “It’s sweet, it’s hopeful, it’s romantic!”
This sense of enchantment is due in no small part to McCullough’s own vocal lilt, which sounds at once delicately modern and warmly classic in its character – not unlike the voice of the artistically enduring Alison Krauss. Still, instrumental support from the likes of Stuart Ducan, members of Time Jumpers and, even more coincidentally, Union Station, definitely enhance “After Midnight’s” elated emotional direction – thanks in particular to the sharp but honeyed timbre of the accordion. The collaborative nature of the group also serves as an active embodiment of the camaraderie McCullough has accrued around her since moving to the capital of The Volunteer State – that which will continue to encourage and challenge her path as time goes on.
“This spring I will have lived in Nashville for six years.” she says. “The creative spirit that exists here and the roots of the music that I love is what drew me here. But to me, it’s the people that make the town. One by one you find your people that get your unique brand of weirdness. You come up together, you create together, you lend each other $20 bucks when things are tough; you don’t break through the machine, you build your own.”