Shucking the side-man role |

Shucking the side-man role

Caramie Schnell
Jamie McLean Band

Vail is, for singer/songwriter/guitarist Jamie McLean, good luck. Five years ago McLean was living in Boulder and traveling around Colorado with his band, One Flight Up. One night, after opening for the funk institution that is the Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Boulders Fox Theater, the band invited him to play guitar with them for their last three shows in Colorado.After shows in Breckenridge and Steamboat, the Dirty Dozen and McLean played a final mountain-town gig at 8150 in Vail. After the show, the group informally invited McLean to join the band.The next show was in San Diego and they asked do you need to get a toothbrush or a change of clothing? That was my invitation to the band. For the next five weeks, McLean traveled around the country with the band, ending the tour with a stint at Jazz Fest in New Orleans.That was my introduction to New Orleans, to the Dirty Dozen and to life on the road, McLean said.Now McLean is preparing to return to Vail, this time with his own band, The Jamie McLean Band. Though McLean is still playing with the Dirty Dozen (he was preparing for a show in Atlanta, Ga. when interviewed over the phone), hes enjoying having his own band and some time in the spotlight.I just needed a change of pace, McLean said, I love playing with the Dirty Dozen, but its definitely more of a side-man role. Ive been with the group for five years; it was apparent after about four years that I just really had this music in me that Id been writing and (the Dozen) wasnt the outlet for it.While the Jamie McLean Band is based in New York City, its hard to miss the southern rock, blues and R&B influences in the bands music. Lyrically, the overriding themes in the album are about relationships, life decisions and the ever-popular subject of good vs. evil (i.e., picking the right thing over the easy thing), McLean said.Musically the album is rock, soul-funk based, McLean said. Theres a real rootsy vibe to it. People are telling me its pretty catchy.McLeans bio says it all: If Keith Richards and Van Morrison could have a bastard child this might be what he would sound like.Musical talent is in the genes for the McLeans: McLeans brother, Carter, is the drummer for the Jamie McLean Band, something that he admits is equal parts good and bad.Its amazing musically because weve been playing together since we were like 10 and 12 years old, he said. Theres an incredible ESP between us. I dont have to tell him what to play; I have a drum beat in my head and hes already on top of it. As far as the bad well its just like traveling with anyone; if youre stuck in a vehicle or hotel room with someone for a long period of time, feathers are going to get ruffled and being siblings, we get in each others heads. The Jamie McLean Band will be performing at 8150 on Dec. 23. Check out for ticket prices and showtime. For more information on the Jamie McLean Band, check out Schnell can be reached at

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