In 2020, Kyle McKearney was restless and ready to start something new. After spending time in Nashville and being a part of many varied musical projects, he settled in Alberta and began posting YouTube videos of himself performing cover songs. It was the start of a creative reinvention, and two years later Kyle’s debut solo album Down-Home received a Canadian Country Music Association award nomination for Alternative Country Album of the Year.
Yet, that was only one of the accolades that have boosted Kyle McKearney’s status as Canada’s biggest breakthrough independent country/Americana artist of 2022. He also earned two Western Canadian Music Award nominations, was named a SiriusXM Top of the Country semi-finalist, placed second in Alberta Music’s Project Wild (for which he was awarded $75,000), shared stages with The Black Crowes, Kip Moore, Our Lady Peace and Dean Brody, all while racking up over one million global streams.
Kyle hasn’t wasted any time building on that momentum. Fans have been treated to new music over the past several months with the singles “Mercy,” “River Rain” and “Grandfather” displaying Kyle’s maturation as a songwriter, while still showing off his powerful voice and his evolving collaboration with Juno Award-winning producer/guitarist/songwriter Russell Broom. It’s all there as well on the latest single, “Whispering Pines,” a soaring duet between Kyle and his wife Sarah that immediately belongs in the conversation of songs at the cutting edge of country music’s current renaissance.
“I wrote ‘Whispering Pines’ while I was working a shift job,” Kyle explains. “It was two weeks away from home at a time in a place where I felt isolated. This song speaks to so many families’ situations; one parent working away while the other takes care of things at home. It can be very tough and can take its toll on any relationship.”
Such honest emotions have formed the bedrock of every song Kyle has written to date, a reflection of being born and raised in small-town northern British Columbia, and his family’s Metis heritage. Kyle grew up listening to country and bluegrass, both of which sparked his interest in music. He would later explore rock and pop sounds with various projects, including playing guitar in the band that accompanied the touring production of Queen’s We Will Rock You.
With the onset of the pandemic, Kyle was left virtually back at square one, although in some ways it became a blessing in disguise. Returning to his country roots, Kyle quickly found his voice and hasn’t looked back since.
With Kyle’s sound encompassing not only country, but blues, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll as well, he exemplifies everything the Americana genre represents: music for anyone who appreciates pure heart and soul.