For musician Edwin McCain, coming to Beaufort to open USCB’s Center for the Arts 2012- 13 Season on Thursday, October 4, will be the perfect trip. “I get to play a gig, I get to work on my boat and I get to see my family and friends,” said McCain during an interview.
Blending equal parts folk, soul and rock, platinum-selling artist Edwin McCain recently released a new studio album titled “Mercy Bound.”
Best known for his top 10 hits “I’ll Be” and “I Could Not Ask For More,” McCain said he will be playing songs from all his albums, old and new, when he performs on stage in Beaufort with the Edwin McCain Acoustic Trio. The trio includes him, a guitar player and a saxophone player. “We try to back it down a little bit for the seated listening environment,” he said about the benefits of playing with only two other people.
More than one million viewers of the Dr. Phil show voted “I’ll Be” as the best wedding song ever written, The New York Times dubbed him “the great American romantic,” and at any given moment on this very day a radio station is playing one of his songs.
“They’re kind of emotional road maps,” Edwin explains, “and each one, especially if you’re connected to it in some real way, can change and grow and lead you in new directions of thought.”
His newest album “Mercy Bound” marks two decades since McCain first entered a studio. Raised in Greenville, S.C., on a musical diet of everything from Earth, Wind & Fire to David Wilcox, he recorded his first independent demo in 1991, issuing his debut, “Solitude,” two years later. That album led to his 1995 major-label debut, “Honor Among Thieves,” which introduced America to the then-budding Southeastern bar favorite. Songs like “Solitude” and “3 a.m.” remain fan faves and live staples. Two years later, he broke into the mainstream with the sweeping ballad “I’ll Be,” from the album “Misguided Roses.”
Two more albums followed for Atlantic (1999’s “Messenger” and 2001’s “Far From Over”) before he stepped off the major-label treadmill with 2003’s “The Austin Sessions.” The following year’s “Scream & Whisper” featured the first collaboration with fellow singer/songwriter Maia Sharp, whom he collaborated with in “Mercy Bound.” In 2006, they worked together again, co-writing several of the tracks on that year’s “Lost in America,” which was followed up in 2008 by the covers album “Nobody’s Fault but Mine.”
Over two decades, McCain has morphed into a road warrior, gigging throughout North America most of each year, flanked by his longtime friends and bandmates Craig Shields on saxophone and keyboards, Larry Chaney on lead guitar, drummer Markeya “Tez” Sherard and bassist Jason Pomar.
McCain has been spending a lot of time in Beaufort recently, not only because his family lives here, but because he is restoring an old boat in the Marsh Harbor boat yard.
“I am a chronic restorer,” he said, “I just like fixing things up.”
The Edwin McCain Acoustic Trio is sponsored by Lowcountry Real Estate. To purchase tickets, call the USCB Center for the Arts at 843-521-4145. Seating is reserved. Tickets are $35 in advance, student tickets are $30 and all seats are $40 the day of the show. A limited number of backstage pass packages are available for $75 per person. For more information, visit www.uscbcenterforthearts.com.