Arlo McKinley Announces New Album ‘This Mess We’re In’ Out July 15 on Oh Boy Records


Today, Arlo McKinley announces the release of This Mess We’re In: a new album, a long look in the mirror, and an internal compass navigating the next chapter of his storied life and burgeoning career. Out July 15 on Oh Boy Records, the follow up to 2020’s acclaimed Die Midwestern makes a compelling argument that bad days really do get better, that love is still alive. Across the 11 tracks, captured at Memphis’ famed Sam Phillips Recording Service and produced by Matt Ross-Spang (Margo Price, Jason Isbell, St. Paul & The Broken Bones), the Cincinnati songwriter emerges from the bleak, emotional fog that hung over his past two years. From the passing of his mother and best friend, to multiple others taken by the devils of addiction, McKinley drew inward for comfort, using the music as a way to orient himself in an uncertain world.

On first single “Stealing Dark From The Night Sky,” out now, Arlo McKinley tells a vivid story of both a breakdown and a bender, trying to outrun the sunrise with a lover who might be able to make the pain just a little bit better.

Listen to “Stealing Dark From The Night Sky,” and see it come to life in the official music video, gorgeously animated and directed by Matt Reynolds (Adult Swim):

Backed by an ace band that includes drummer Ken Coomer, guitarist Will Sexton and keyboardist Rick Steff – as well as the new addition of cinematic string arrangements, showcasing Arlo McKinley’s feel for the romantic melancholy of inspirations like Nick Cave, Nick Drake and Wes Anderson – the songs on This Mess We’re In take their time to reveal their secrets. Through the warm, oaky voice and lyrical talent that won over John Prine at Nashville’s High Watt back in 2019, Arlo McKinley possesses a special ability to make his listeners feel seen and recognized.

He has been praised for songs of “hard-won experience” (Rolling Stone), “wrecked dreams and displacement from middle America” (NPR Music), “existential crises and world-weary resilience” (The FADER), garnering comparisons to Tyler Childers, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson and more. He has been told that his music has helped fans through several tours in Afghanistan, and battles with brain cancer. While he credits these personal connections to the unflinching truth he brings to his songwriting, on This Mess We’re In he explains:

“I’m private with a lot of things I go through, but in my songs, I’m honest about everything. So I started to write as a way of getting stuff out. To me, This Mess We’re In is a growth record. I was navigating through a pretty bad time, but also there was the realization that it’s time to really change. My last album was me figuring out whether to stay or go from a very confused spot in my life. This one is trying to better myself – as a musician, as a human being, as a friend. I hope listeners can identify with the things they’re too ashamed to talk about or feel. There’s such a stigma that goes along with things like addiction and mental health. I just want them to know that I go through all of that too. At least for the 47 minutes of the album, you can remove yourself from the world and just let everything disappear for a bit.”

Between growing up singing and playing guitar in a Baptist church, cutting his teeth on the midwestern DIY and punk rock circuits, and working a job delivering tuxedos on long drives between Cincinnati and Detroit, Arlo McKinley has always felt most comfortable on the road, writing and performing his own music. This spring, he kicks off another restless year of touring, bringing This Mess We’re In to a pair of shows at NYC’s Mercury Lounge, a stop at MerleFest, plus his first international performances and more US dates on sale now.

Pre-Order This Mess We’re In Here

This Mess We’re In Tracklist
I Don’t Mind
City Lights
Back Home
Stealing Dark From the Night Sky
To Die For
Dancing Days
This Mess We’re In
I Wish I
Where You Want Me
Here’s to the Dying

Arlo McKinley Tour Dates
4/8 – Ashland, KY – Paramount Arts Center
4/29 – White Sulphur Springs, WV – Cross Creek on Main
4/30 – Wilkesboro, NC – MerleFest
5/1 – Charleston, WV – Mountain Stage
5/4 – Greenville, SC – Radio Room
5/5 – Birmingham, AL – Saturn
5/6 – Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic
5/7 – Huntersville, NC – NC Brewers & Music Festival
5/9 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge + Mercury Rising Livestream
5/12 – Wayne, PA – 118 North
5/13 – Worcester, MA – Off The Rails
5/14 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
5/17 – Washington, DC – Hill Country Live DC
5/18 – Berlin, MD – Globe Gastro Theatre
5/20 – Abingdon, VA – Wolf Hills Brewing
5/21 – Sevierville, TN – Bloomin BBQ & Bluegrass Festival
6/9 – Kobenhavn, Denmark – CPH Americana
6/10 – Stockholm, Sweden – Sthlm Americana
6/11 – Oslo, Norway – Oslo Americana
6/14 – Hamburg, Germany – Nochtwache
6/15 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso Noord
6/16 – London, England – St Pancras Old Church
6/17 – London, England – Old Blue Last
6/19 – Manchester, England – Gullivers
6/21 – Glasgow, Scotland – Oran Mor
6/22 – Dublin, Ireland – The Workman’s Club
7/9 – Parkersburg, WV – Renegade Rebellion Country Music Festival
7/28 – Springfield, IL – Levitt AMP
8/19 – Wellston, MI – Hoxeyville Festival
9/10-11 – Bristol, TN – Bristol Rhythm & Roots Festival