McNally Smith College of Music co-founder Jack McNally is finally ready to celebrate the release of his first proper studio album. Some might think the co-founder of McNally Smith College of Music would have reached this milestone some time ago, but establishing and operating a nationally renowned contemporary music college tends to keep a guy quite busy. Ultimately, it took the perfect storm of inspiration and collaboration for McNally to compose and complete Take Time, the singer/songwriter’s Americana-drenched debut.
“My wife, Deb McNally, founded and directs a non-profit called Hand In Hand for Literacy that works to build libraries for communities in Africa that have no books,” McNally explains. She asked me if I would consider putting together a release and a concert to help raise awareness. She knows me — she knows I could never say no.”
She was right. Seizing this newfound motivation, McNally worked up a roots-heavy batch of songs and swiftly began to hammer out the twelve tunes that comprise Take Time. When faced with shaping and documenting this rustic material, McNally set out to celebrate the people around him, showcasing the remarkable talent at the college he helped build from the ground up. A majority of the musicians on the record are some of McNally Smith’s finest faculty, students (including his son John McNally, a senior in guitar performance) and graduates, not to mention legendary Grammy winning producer and engineer Ed Cherney (who sits on the college board).
“It’s all homegrown,” McNally beams. “All the recordings were done here at the college in various studios—all the people involved were McNally Smith people. It was a cool process that everybody collaborated on.”
With his long-awaited debut in hand, McNally now shifts his focus towards Take Time’s release and a very special benefit concert at McNally Smith’s scenic Sound Bite Café in downtown St. Paul on Friday, February 15 at 6p.m. Click here to reserve FREE TICKETS. In addition to complimentary appetizers and stunning views of the capitol, guests will be treated to an intimate performance from McNally and his band — including a guest appearance from none other than St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (a guitar student of McNally’s). Admission is free, and all proceeds from CD and liquor sales, as well as an exclusive auction event hosted by Fox 9 reporter Todd Walker, will directly benefit Hand in Hand for Literacy’s noble mission.
“We are building a library for a school called Challenging Heights in the Cape Coast region of Ghana,” Deb McNally explains when discussing how the money raised from Take Time’s sales and the benefit concert will be used. “It’s a special project to me because of the nature of where these kids come from —they’re former child slaves, rescued from the child slave trade and child trafficking.”
It’s a project close to Jack McNally’s heart as well. In fact, two of the songs on Take Time, “Door of No Return” and “Senchi,” were written during an eye-opening trip to Ghana in 2010. “When you think about where contemporary music came from, we owe a great debt to those folks who were brought here and infused our music with the rhythms and soul of West Africa,” McNally says solemnly. “The music I love — contemporary music like jazz, rock, blues, folk, funk and all the things that I hold dear — came from Africa.”
Jack McNally CD Release/Benefit Concert
Friday, February 15, 2013 (6–9p.m.)
Sound Bite Café, 3rd floor of McNally Smith College of Music, 19 Exchange St East, St Paul
Click here to reserve FREE TICKETS to Jack McNally’s “Take Time” CD Release/Benefit Concert on Friday, February 15
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