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Nov 19-Chrislyn Lawrence & Mike McClure
$30 in advance, $35 at the door
Potluck dinner at 6pm, show at 7pm
“‘In the Meantime’ was born from the ashes of 2020. It was written in a time of collective turmoil and heartache. But it’s also very personal.”
Crow & Gazelle might be a new name to you, in theory, but if you’re familiar with the folk, Americana and Red Dirt music scenes in Oklahoma and Texas, its members are likely not. The duo is one part Mike McClure, the singer, songwriter, artist and producer who’s been making music in the region for more than two decades. He most recently released Looking Up in 2020, which found the multi-hyphenate getting sober, wrestling with insecurity, finding a new love for both himself and others. It’s also one part Chrislyn Lawrence, Mike’s now-wife and collaborator, who is also a creative director, poet, community organizer and musician.
“The same division felt across the nation in 2020 was felt deeply in our immediate families,” Chrislyn says. “We both grew up in small communities, and we have both felt like outsiders for being different, for having different beliefs than those who raised us and those we grew up around. Last year we had periods of time where one or both of us didn’t or couldn’t talk to one of our parents. It was all just so heavy. One day in the midst of all that pain, this song was created.
“In the Meantime” will eventually be part of a yet-to-be-recorded Crow & Gazelle album, but for now, it’s a placeholder meant to help heal.
“It was a homemade life-raft. We picked up what felt broken, weaved feelings into verses, and tried to mend things the best we could, with some empathy,” Chrislyn says. “But also with truth. Love doesn’t require you to lose yourself; real love wants us to remain true to ourselves and it wants us to be open to forgiving, so that we aren’t weighed down by so much grief. Writing this song was grace and healing incarnate. Singing it gave me a place to say what I needed to, and it didn’t really matter if the person it was intended for heard it or not. Just by singing it, performing it to and for others, it is doing what it was made to do. It was made to create healing, and by that measure, it’s made things better.”
To understand what “In the Meantime” is and what it means in a larger context, it’s helpful to understand the backstory of its creators. 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. He was also the permanent producer for Red Dirt favorites Cross Canadian Ragweed and has produced albums by artists including the Turnpike Troubadours, Tom Skinner, Jason Boland & the Stragglers, and many others. A few years back Mike decided to do the hard work of creating a happier life for himself — he now has a better grasp on what it means to get to the root cause of what might be hindering him, without the outside influence of drugs and alcohol. Chrislyn has helped both processes.
Chrislyn herself grew up in rural Northwest Texas, amongst the kind of scenery that is synonymous with the state: she was riding horses by herself by age three, her best friends were cow dogs and barn cats, and her dad was a literal cowboy. She is a writer through and through, with some of her earliest memories encapsulated in a small locked diary, but early preoccupations with people-pleasing led her away from artistry and to the business side of music in her 20s. She managed a live music venue in Texas, and eventually became a booking agent, though she found herself creatively depleted at the end of the decade. She moved to England and got her MA in philosophy and creative writing and began to finally, seriously, look at herself as an artist, not just someone who advocates for and represents artists.
“Crow and Gazelle feels like the natural path for Chrislyn and I,” Mike says. “She co-produced Looking Up and what she brought to the table was an amazing ear and soul. She pushes me in all the right ways and I do the same for her. We both want to be our best for the other because the other deserves it.”
“I want to see this play out on a larger scale,” he continues. “Enter: Crow and Gazelle.”