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John McVey | Unpredictable

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United States - Colorado

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Pop: Folky Pop Rock: Acoustic Moods: Solo Male Artist
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by John McVey

Well crafted songs, beautifully produced. A slow, intense burn, guaranteed to make you put it on repeat.
Genre: Pop: Folky Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. A Little More Time
3:47 $0.99
2. Leave A Little Mark
3:22 $0.99
3. Unpredictable
3:16 $0.99
4. The Con Man's Easy Chair
4:32 $0.99
5. Just Like Heaven
6:01 $0.99
6. Too Small A Word
4:03 $0.99
7. The Gentleman Thief
5:26 $0.99
8. The Crooked Way
4:27 $0.99
9. Rodeo Around the World
4:10 $0.99
10. Lay Your Burden Down
4:42 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
An interview with John McVey
By Kevin Criss

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
Vincent Van Gogh

When singer/songwriter John McVey was a little boy running around the classrooms and cul de sacs of Princeton, New Jersey, all kinds of music ran through his heart and danced in his head.

Day in and day out it coursed deep within him. At some point it became quite clear: This music had to come out.

So at age 6 McVey crafted his first guitar out of cardboard and began to jam along to his sister’s records. The Monkees. The Beatles. Paul Revere and the Raiders. The cardboard guitar would suffice. For now.

Summer 2010.
I’m in a recording studio in Boulder, Colorado.
As I talk to McVey, who sits behind an expansive soundboard in T-shirt and jeans, it’s quite clear that the wide-eyed little boy with the cardboard guitar is alive and well. He’s just a bit older and his music now runs through the hearts and dances in the heads of his growing fan base.

As be begins to open up about his music and his life, I quickly realize that what is absent in McVey is any hint of the cynicism or malaise that can afflict even the most idealistic as we get older, take on mortgages, jobs, commutes, etc.

The ex-piano tuner exudes an awe and wonderment with the lyrical qualities of life, those little notes that many of us don’t hear. Or is it we can’t hear?

I ask him what moves him about life. “All of it,” says McVey. “The sheer range of it, the in-your-face of it, the possibility of it. It's all available to be moved by.”

That’s not Boulder talking. That’s McVey. He’s cut from a more intricate and perceptive cloth than the rest of us. And the lucky bastard knows it.

You hear it in his music and see it when he’s on stage. His voice, exquisite and captivating in its high gear, passionate and unmistakably masculine in low, may be McVey's greatest gift. It fills even the most cavernous room, but McVey also uses it in quiet passages to connect with his audience, inviting them to lean in and be a part of the song.

When McVey performs, it’s with equal parts intimacy, passion, humor and grit. As I watch him rehearse in the studio, I realize what a captivating mix that can be.

Rewind back to Princeton.

McVey's father died when he was three years old, so it was John, his two sisters, Chris and Sue, his mother, Pat ... and music. An endless stream of music pouring out of transistor radios and record players spinning 45's. The Beatles. Crosby Stills and Nash. Sly and The Family Stone. Motown. Rock. Jazz. That childhood soundtrack would become his musical bedrock.

For John’s 8th birthday, Pat, no doubt weary of the constant pleading, got him his first guitar, a Sears Silvertone. It never saw the inside of its case.

“I was completely in love with that guitar,” says McVey, who still has it at his home. “My first gig was a 4th grade 'Show and Tell.' I couldn't really play. It was me, a few intros to songs and the Silvertone in front of the class. The girls loved it and I was hooked.”

Next stop, the junior high/high school power trios with buddies. As his confidence grew, he began to write and perform his own songs.

“I realized after awhile that I was more James Taylor than Jimi Hendrix, but I still only had the Silvertone. I’d have to borrow acoustic guitars to perform my own songs at school assemblies.”

Wowed by his obvious talents and more obvious need, McVey’s geology teacher, Tom Bullen, took up a collection around the school and presented him with an acoustic guitar, an Ovation Deluxe Balladeer.

That Ovation Deluxe joined him at Rutgers University where he continued to hone his craft. More original music, more bands and a full embrace of the world of music.

By 1994, McVey was in Nashville working hard and learning like a sponge. He released his first CD “Circle of Friends” and became a regular at the famed Bluebird Café. In 1995 he was a New Folk winner at the Kerrville Folk Festival, the highest honor for up and coming songwriters. In 1996 he was selected Acoustic Artist of the Year by the National Academy of Songwriters.

The little kid with the cardboard guitar was flying high.

With his career taking off, BWE Music released an updated version of “Circle of Friends” in 1997. The CD was played in more than 50 radio markets, and its songs still find themselves on AAA, folk and pop stations and shows.

McVey’s summer 2000 release “Jigsaw” brought together many of the same musicians who made “Circle of Friends” a critical favorite. At the center of both projects is producer Alain Mallet, who had previously worked with Vance Gilbert, The Story and Jonatha Brooke and toured with Paul Simon.

“As the bold night steals the light of day, and the shy sun sulks and fades away…”

I’m back in Boulder and McVey is on-stage at a small, sold-out club.
He’s unleashing A Little More Time from his latest CD, “Unpredictable.”
The crowd is transfixed. Is it the voice? Is it the lyrics? Maybe it’s the guitar playing, which is unconventional, though strongly rhythmic, using the entire fret board but leaving plenty of room for that voice to shine through. Whatever it is, nobody is talking or texting or checking their Facebook. They are riveted. His voice echoes through the club and the lyrics waft through the still air…

“On my final day with my last breath, I will look into the face of death and I’ll say wait a minute, I just need … a little more time with you.”

Back in the studio, I ask McVey what message his music delivers. At first he’s taken aback. He strokes his dark hair, thinks for a few seconds then he gets a twinkle in his eye.

“My music isn't necessarily about a message,” he says. “All I'm trying to do is write a great song.”

He contemplates the question a bit more.

“No one would ever ask Van Gogh what message he was trying to deliver with “Starry Night!” Art is all about communication. But it's less literal and more visceral. It's about common experience. The hope is that someone will have their own experience with my music … find their own message.”

And with that I think about my own experience with John McVey. I think the little kid with the cardboard guitar would be making music if he was stranded on a desert island with only a palm frond and a coconut. He was born to do this.

With vivid story telling, a striking voice and captivating stage presence, John McVey welcomes you into his musical world … a place where dreams come true … a good place to be. Sit back and enjoy the ride.



to write a review

Frank Eriksen

Unpredictable? Not if you know John McVey
This is such a nice disc. I love the title track as well as, Con Man's Easy Chair and Gentleman Thief. John is one the top singer/songwriters in Boulder, Colorado. And that's saying a lot! If you've heard his other CD - Jigsaw, you know that his music is predictably excellent.