Music is Michael McArthur’s muse through the trials and triumphs life throws in our paths. As a kid he dreamed of becoming the world’s greatest guitarist, but each time he sat down to practice he’d write a song instead. Writing about the things he knows, each song contains a dark undercurrent in a river of personal experience. “Maybe I was born with it,” he says of his bittersweet streak. “And maybe one day I’ll master it. Until then I’ll write.”
McArthur built his career the same way he writes songs – by putting in the work to get his muse to appear. He left his family’s restaurant business to pursue a full-time music career in 2010. He released several singles and EPs with producers David Bianco (Tom Petty, Lucinda Williams) and Greg Wells (Adele, Taylor Swift, Rufus Wainwright). In 2018, McArthur released Ever Green, Ever Rain, his full-length debut produced by Grammy-winner Ryan Freeland (Ray Lamontagne, Bonnie Raitt), earning praise from Billboard. This included an exclusive premiere of the single “Elaine,” and rave reviews from American Songwriter, HuffPost Music & Culture, PopMatters and others.
Just as McArthur was just beginning to gain attention, the entire world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time in a decade, he was left without a plan. “That uncertainty and discomfort stripped everything away and brought me home to my creative source. Writing and playing became my lifeline and every time I wrote a song, I recorded a demo of it. That’s how Milky Stars was born.”
Reflecting the time in which they were written, Milky Stars is a collection of easily relatable yet somewhat melancholy tunes wrapped in lush yet authentic arrangements. Ranging from singer-songwriter delivery to Americana/Roots to full-on Rock songs, the tracks on Milky Stars keep the listener sonically engaged while maintaining a distinct cohesiveness. This is very evident on the lead single, “Lady Luck,” that opens with a driving guitar riff and is highlighted by dynamic piano and biting guitar solo, while making a plea for the singer’s fortunes to change.
Only a couple of weeks into the album, Michael McArthur and Milky Stars are getting attention from radio, with KRSH, KRML, KMTN, KYSL, KCLC, and WMOT already playing the song. Michael McArthur will appear at the JBE SummitFest at the Transoceanic Late Night Lounge on Thursday, August 4.
Photo by Mike Dunn