An unapologetically lyric-forward writer, Michael McArthur’s words naturally wrap themselves around his listeners’ lives when put to melody. Through trauma and triumph, music has been his lifelong companion. He writes what he knows, with each song carrying an undercurrent of darkness in a river of personal experience. As a kid, McArthur dreamed of becoming the world’s best guitar player, but every time he’d sit down to practice, he found himself writing a song instead.
Two decades later, not much has changed. In 2010, McArthur dropped several singles and EPs with producers David Bianco (Tom Petty, Lucinda Williams) and Greg Wells (Adele, Taylor Swift, Rufus Wainwright). In 2019, he released his debut LP, Ever Green, Ever Rain, produced by Grammy-winner Ryan Freeland (Ray Lamontagne, Bonnie Raitt).
On September 16 via Transoceanic Records/Soundly Music, McArthur will release his latest effort Milky Stars. Today the stunning single “Run Around” has been dropped along with an accompanying video. “Movies have had their place in my life for as far back as I can remember,” McArthur says. “Growing up, most Friday nights, my step-father would take me and my brother to Blockbuster and let us pick just about any movie we wanted. We’d come home after that, order a pizza and watch it. Great movies, like great songs, have this transportive quality. They have the power to spur your perspective and deepen your understanding of existence. When thinking about a video for ‘Run Around,’ it was essential to the narrative that it be a mini-movie. It was the only way to fairly convey the spirit of the song. Director, Luis De Pena and I worked alongside one another to conceptualize this cyclical dream within a dream. Filming felt like a dream too, as we captured many of the scenes between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am, with coyotes strolling the streets, scouring for scraps. They’re bigger than you think. After two weeks of planning and a couple days in Joshua Tree, we made our movie.”
When Milky Stars was being written, McArthur found himself experiencing ample time to be home due to the pandemic. This abnormality threw the musician for a loop no doubt, but it also forced him to get back to his roots. Focusing heavily on writing became a deeper passion for McArthur which also allowed him to take chances. He sent demos over to producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, James Bay) after the two crossed paths online. King invited him to record his sophomore full-length album in Nashville in May 2021, resulting in a 12-track album awash with imagery as intimate as it is mighty.
Photo Courtesy: Mike Dunn