Pamela McNeill - Heavy Lifting (Official Music Video)
Pamela McNeill is proof that you never know when lightning’s going to strike.
After a dazzling 35 years in music, she leveled up again by reigniting her inner rock girl, making her dream record and signing with her first label.
“Neon Lightning,” her scorching debut release for Farm to Label Records, is Pamela at her purest: a fusion of the idealism of her 20s and the confidence of the more insightful, experienced person she is today. She wrote “Neon Lightning” straight from her soul and composed it entirely on piano — no pressure, no pretense, no Pro Tools — just Pamela in a pandemic with a firebolt of inspiration and a wide-open calendar thanks to the 2020 Covid lockdown.
“This whole thing was so organic, reconnecting with my younger artistic self but now with wisdom, coming full circle, rediscovering that place where I made music purely for the sake of making music,” she says. “It wasn’t any agenda beyond just making music that moved me.”
“Neon Lightning” pays homage to some of Pamela’s biggest artistic influences, from Tom Petty to Pink.
She tapped her long-time friend and sometimes bandmate, Minneapolis musician Matt Kirkwold, to produce her eight new songs, and they headed to John Richardson’s Drum Farm Studio in Menomonie, Wisconsin for an old-school recording session with Pamela on piano, Kirkwold on guitar and a killer band: Richardson on drums (Gin Blossoms) Adam Ollendorff on acoustic and steel guitar (Kacey Musgraves, Will Hoge) and Adam Keafer on bass (Kacey Musgraves, Brooks and Dunn).
“We hunkered down for four days. My goal was to record with the band so we were all in the same room just playing off each other like in the old days,” Pamela says. “We just had the best time, and it was really magical. And it was during those sessions when John said to me ‘What are you going to do with this?’” Richardson, with his Nashville connections and alt-rock edge, was the perfect person to rep her album, and Pamela signed her first record deal with his new Farm to Label Records. “I love his spirit, where he’s coming from,” she says. “It’s definitely the most satisfying, most meaningful thing I’ve ever done with my songs music-wise, so it’s pretty special. “I went back to what my roots truly are.”
Those roots go deep back the Minneapolis music scene of the 1980s and extend from London to Nashville and back. She’s sung backup for Rick Astley (Rickroll, anyone?), shared the studio with some of the industry’s biggest talents, played famous stages from London’s Royal Albert Hall to Nashville’s Bluebird Café and released six solo albums.
She’s proud of her musical past, and who wouldn’t be? Artists from Yanni to Wynona Judd have recorded her songs. Musicians like guitarists Chris Leuzinger of Garth Brooks’ band the G-Men and Bart Walker of the Desert City Ramblers, currently Hank Williams Jr.’s guitarist, have played on her albums.
Pamela has worked with iconic new age artist Yanni, who hired her to write his first lyrical songs.
Jim Peterik of Survivor, (“Eye of the Tiger”), Pam Tillis and Grammy-winning songwriter Bobby E. Boyd.
Her powerhouse vocals, lyrical warmth and gut-level sincerity have built an ever-growing fan base that fills her live shows and stokes her creative spirit.
Label: Farm to Label Records
Song IPI# ASCAP# 915102355
Songwriters: Pamela McNeill
Songwriters’ IPI#: ASCAP# 375641050
Publisher: Light Light Boom
Publisher IPI#: ASCAP# 344425867