8/19/2011 - Brian McGee leaves Asheville with final show at Grey Eagle
by Jonathan Rich
ASHEVILLE -- Pennsylvania native Brian McGee moved to Western North Carolina in the fall of 1999 to be a woodworker, but the local musical community eventually seduced him into drawing on his musical background from his punk band Plow United to forge a new identity among sounds emanating from Asheville's coffee shops, restaurants and music venues.
"Even when I was earning a living in a woodshop, I would have rather been playing gigs and touring," McGee explained. "Playing music is the most exciting thing that I've ever done and it's been the most rewarding. It's on my mind most of every day. Lately I've had to make more brain space for this big move to New Jersey."
Local fans of McGee's highly praised body of work will be disappointed to learn that this working-class hero is leaving his home of the past decade, but he has one more show at The Grey Eagle this Saturday.
"The farewell show is going to be a great last show to play," he said. "If you've never seen a Brian McGee show and are curious, this would be the one to come too since it's the last local show for a long time. Musicians are like cousins to fans, and first and last shows are like weddings and funerals. You don't keep up on a regular basis, but you go celebrate or pay your respects in those important times."
McGee's latest album, "The Taking or the Leaving," earned rave reviews from regional music critics and has appeal beyond his local fan base.
"My music has been described as rock 'n' roll, garage country and the oh-so vague-alt country, but I like to think of it as a rock 'n' roll mix-up of some of the people who have influenced me the most -- Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and The Replacements," McGee said. "Out of respect for all those artists I would never compare myself to them, but if you like that music, you might like mine."
Though he may be leaving Asheville soon, this will not be the last anyone hears of Brian McGee.
"To everyone who has come out to see me play, bought my records, played with me and have been supportive, I thank you," he said. "I've learned a lot being here and will always carry a piece of WNC with me. Please keep showing support to the local and touring bands and don't wait for them to break up to go see them play. See you again sometime in 2012."