“It’s all about the song… nothing else really matters.” Those are the words that sum up Humphrey-McKeown. Other great songwriting duos like Lennon & McCartney, Rodgers & Hammerstein and John & Taupin shared that same motivation; it is all about the song. Musical partners Humphrey and McKeown are ambitiously working to prove themselves and earn their place next to their songwriting heroes.
The Humphrey-McKeown songwriting partnership began in 2006 between New York native, Heather Humphrey and Chicago-based, Tom McKeown. At an informal gathering of musicians Tom asked if anyone had interest in writing music. That day Heather said “yes” and two weeks later their collaborative partnership was formed and they were ready to see where this adventure would lead them. Before long, they were writing for publishers in Nashville, Chicago and LA. Combining Heather’s innate sense of melody with Tom’s pursuit of writing something that hadn’t already been done before, Humphrey-McKeown wrote for any occasion and in any style; always seeking to better themselves and their craft. When asked “How do you write better songs?” Their answer has always been “That’s easy…we write another song”. After penning over 100 songs for others, Humphrey-McKeown changed course to focus solely on their own unique musical voice. From their first open mic in December 2010 through the release of four studio albums in less than three years, Humphrey-McKeown has had a vision of what their writing and singing together could be. Creating the perfect vehicle to bring their songs to an audience proved to be a task that took years to complete. Drummer Jim Livas has brought the big drum sound to HM since the very first show but finding the rest of the musical puzzle pieces proved more elusive. They held auditions and swapped remaining players as needed, always looking for the perfect fit. Finally, during the last recording sessions of what has become the group’s fourth album, Jim remembered a truly amazing bassist from his past. That led HM to Tony Meadors and incredibly, his audition actually became one of the final tracks on the fourth CD “All I Wanted to Hear.”
“From the first note we played together, we all knew the magic was there. It was very exciting!” ~ Tom McKeown.
One listen to their latest release shows that their musical puzzle is complete.
The sound that Humphrey-McKeown has distilled over the course of multiple albums is at once instantly recognizable as HM. They have successfully combined elements of folk, rock, pop, country and progressive music with just a hint of Brill Building songwriting to create their own contemporary Folk-Rock Americana sound. They begin by weaving together intricate layers of acoustic guitar, mandolin, piano, fiddle and bass. Then they drop a ten-ton drum kit on top of it. Folk-Rock… with a huge beat and brilliant musicianship. As great as their music is, HM still puts the primary focus on the voices and the lyrics.
“It’s not OK for us to simply write catchy music. We want people to feel the hurt in the songs about pain and we want them to soar with us through songs of hope.” ~ Heather Humphrey
“A huge part of what people feel about a piece of music is based on the vocalists and the words they are singing. We know we have to get that right.” ~ Tom McKeown
With Heather and Tom sharing lead vocals equally, their voices are full and rich with emotion. Their songs are sometimes playful, sometimes edgy, sometimes heart-breaking and always uniquely HM. Their last few CD have begun receiving much deserved national and international attention.
“Great tunes appear to come naturally them and their songs invariably come loaded with plentiful hooks and the kind of choruses that stick around.” ~ Leicester Bangs, UK
“Tried and tested, yet fresh sounding male-female medley reaching across the expanse of lush tracks. Diverse instruments – each featuring and acoustic twang- the formula works! Tender and heart-warming… great lyrics and guitar-work.” ~Spy District
With four studio albums and an ever growing fan base, Humphrey-McKeown Band has set their sights on touring theaters and original music clubs throughout the US and increasing their presence internationally.
“We love and believe in what we do. We write music that has first touched us and we know it can reach others too.” ~ Heather Humphrey
“We are so thankful to those who have encouraged us along the journey. We just want to invite people to share this adventure with us.” ~Tom McKeown
Lead and Background Vocals, Piano, Flute, Percussion
Lead and Background Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Mandolin, Bouzouki, Banjo,
Piano, Organ, Synths, Bass, Drums, Percussion
Drums & Percussion
Upright Bass, 4 & 5 String Electric Bass, Background Vocals