To look at the last few years of Mike McClure’s life is to understand that there has been a life-altering awakening. It’s been a time of reckoning, renewal and growth for the singer, songwriter, artist and producer — a five-year span that’s resulted in Looking Up, 10 tracks that find him getting sober, wrestling with insecurity, finding a new love for both himself and others, and working to understand the new light he’s found in discovering that the best moments in life come from being present.
“I started the climb up and out of unhappiness a few years back, which resulted in the end of a long marriage. I looked inside and called into light things like jealousy and fear. I would pour booze or drugs on top of things that hurt me instead of admitting these things and getting to the root cause. It’s been a hard couple of years, to say the least, but I feel as though I’m up and out of it. Now it’s up to me to continue to do the work that will keep me in this space,” he says.
To understand what Looking Up, as an album, means, it’s crucial to grasp the story beyond it. Mike got his start in Stillwater, Oklahoma, playing at the notorious "Farm" with legendary artists including Bob Childers, Tom Skinner, Steve Ripley, and Jimmy LaFave, and later was a founding member of The Great Divide. The band signed to Atlantic Records in 1998, and "I'd Rather Have Nothing," written by Mike and initially recorded by the band, was later recorded by Garth Brooks for his 2005 limited series box set, The Lost Sessions, which has sold over 2 million copies.