There’s likely not a soul in the world that would say they enjoy having the rug pulled out from under them, let alone to have it happen several times in a row, without any respite in between. Despite this near universal stance, that’s exactly what The Imaginaries have found themselves facing along nearly every step of their musical journey so far.
While Maggie McClure (keys, piano, vocals) and Shane Henry (guitar, vocals) aren’t new to each other as a married couple, The Imaginaries is a bluesy roots rock endeavor that was on the cusp of a spirited introduction to the music world before life had other plans. Excited and prepared with a full-length debut album, one unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstance after another would force the duo’s release, performing, and touring plans to keep getting postponed or cancelled – the latest setback being the same one the rest of the world had to come to grips with in COVID-19’s arrival. Whether it’s a matter of their combined belief in the appeal of the music they’ve written or, a matter of turning to their faith and knowing nothing that’s happened to them is more than they could endure, McClure and Henry are finally ready to let a new song fly and both the music and the detailed creativity in its video concept prove every bit was worth the wait.
Premiering today on American Songwriter, is The Imaginaries newest single “Revival.”
Packed to the brim with performance power of artistically sharp proportions (the song features musicians who have supported the likes of Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Little Richard, Gregg Allman, Hank Williams Jr., Sufjan Stevens, The Secret Sisters, and many more), “Revival” isn’t just a confident musical outing. McClure and Henry went to great lengths in planning out a video complete with a scripted dialogue, several eye-catching shooting locations involving museums and landscapes around Oklahoma.
“The three of us collaborated on the script and location scouting was a team effort,” McClure and Henry said. “This is the largest scale music video shoot we’ve done so far in our careers. There was a good-sized cast and crew involved and we are so grateful to everyone for helping to make it the spectacular video it turned out to be!”
Paired with thoughtful wardrobe and an eager cast of extras, the whole project plays out almost like a short film, which is apt given style of the cinematic material The Imaginaries were inspired when propelling their own artistic direction.
“The concept for[“Revival’s”] music video was something that we’d been dreaming up for years; we just didn’t know which song it would be for until we wrote ‘Revival.’ Our vision was to blend an O Brother, Where Art Thou? style with a Bonnie and Clyde concept so, we approached our director Reagan Elkins, who helped us bring our it to life and then some. The video is an interpretation of the song in [so far] that we are searching for truth on our journey away from our past, towards redemption, and [you will] see this throughout the video,” said Henry and McClure.
“The villain, Johnny,” they continue, “represents old habits and hindrances that may have been holding us back in the past.”
Presented with a brief but instantly adventurous and gripping introduction for the first two minutes of the video, once the music of “Revival” kicks in, the full strength of The Imaginaries’ musical skill and stylistic differences swirl together to give listeners glimpses of several southern and Black-driven genres, from delta blues to harmonizing gospel, to a touch of outlaw country colliding with Baptist lyrical metaphors. Moment to moment, the energy and performance personality put forth by McClure and Henry also flash moments reflecting Lindi Ortega’s vintage, southern-focused sound and aesthetic, Miranda Lambert’s unyielding vocal sass, Dan Tyminski’s unapologetically religious-minded messaging, and James Bay’s slick but sensitive crooning.
In spite of a notable amount of easily made artistic parallels, it’s the pairing of The Imaginaries’ themselves – that intangible, uncontainable element that only arises because this emotionally invested couple are performing together – that really pushes this song and The Imaginaries’ overall sound to a place of uniquely memorable charm. And neither McClure nor Henry are approaching this milestone with an ounce of doubt over what they’re doing and whether or not they believe things will turn for the better.
“With The Imaginaries and the release of ‘Revival’ we are taking a big step forward towards growth, freedom and possibility, doing what we know we were meant to do, and spreading hope and positivity along the way,” said McClure and Henry.
“Revival” is a song of strong compositional form, smart with word play and rhyme scheme, and built for an audience anxious for a good call-and-response or catchy refrain to (eventually) belt at a live show. The Imaginaries may have had a slow go of things thus far but “Revival” shows there’s no doubt The Imaginaries are ready to take off faster than a getaway train with music like this in tow.