Grace McNally Infuses Southern Traditions with World Music on Debut Album, Full Circle

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    Grace McNally Infuses Southern Traditions with World Music on Debut Album, Full Circle
    Published: April 28, 2023

    On Thursday, May 4th, Charleston-based guitarist and songwriter Grace McNally will release her debut album, Full Circle. The 8-track album seeks to re-imagine southern music traditions and Latin American folk songs as inspired by Grace’s travels in West Africa, Central America, and South America — while also contributing a few originals.

    To celebrate, McNally is hosting an album release party at Clerk’s Coffee inside Emeline Hotel on Thursday, May 4th at 6:30PM and an album release concert showcasing the entire album performed live on Sunday, May 7th at 7PM. For concert tickets and more information, click here

    Of the album, McNally says:

    Full Circle is my debut album which explores the musical continuities between the American Southeast, Central America, West Africa and Northeast Brazil. It is a musical memoir featuring musical traditions that have impacted my journey and perspective as a musician. It is a love letter to Charleston, South Carolina and to all the places that I lived in and traveled to in my young adulthood. Places that have shaped me into the woman and musician that I am today. Places with beautiful people, culture and of course- music. 

    Grace McNally on Full Circle.

    The album contains a variety of different approaches and musical styles, many of them instrumental and exploratory. McNally composes her music on classical guitar, weaving together arrangements that bring in a vast number of influences. This results in a vibrant array of sounds that is culturally open-minded and curious, and even at times strangely psychedelic.

    In addition to Grace performing on guitar, the album also features a number of exceptionally talented musicians, which is necessary for creating such a unique and diverse musical concoction. Elements of jazz, such as unexpected transitions and the use of a diverse array of instruments really put the musicianship at the core of this project on full display.

    Guests on Full Circle include The Plantation Singers (vocals & percussion), Gino Castillo (vocals & percussion), Jonathan Lovett (bass & organ), Marcus Amaker (spoken word), Ron Wiltrout (percussion), Abdiel Iriarte (piano), Brett Belanger (bass), and Tim Khayat (bass).

    In anticipation of the album, Grace recently released a music video for “All The Things You Are” off the album, showcasing the musicianship I mentioned earlier.

    With Grace on guitar, Ron Wiltrout on drums, and Brett Belanger on bass, they are all completely relaxed as if they’re performing something easy. Yet you can hear and feel the subtle buildup of tension throughout, becoming quietly intense near the end and peaking before it reaches a gentle landing.

    Watch the video for “All The Things You Are” by Grace McNally below.

    Last year, Grace McNally also released the music video for “Give Me Water”, another track from the album. Check that out below.

    Finally, Grace and the band were also featured on TEDx Charleston this past March:

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