By Kenneth Dahl
Eddie McClelland said he doesn”t know music well, but the acoustic folk rock on his album “Being Here” could easily be confused with that of musical icon Dave Matthews.
McClelland has never written down any of his 70 original songs.
McClelland, 21, a sophomore from Springfield, Va., studying management, recently returned from his mission in Uruguay and has picked up the guitar again. McClelland hopes to make his mark on the local community through his acoustic folk rock.
McClelland has played acoustic folk rock for five years. He first began strumming the strings when his high school offered beginning guitar classes.
“I have always dreamed about playing the guitar,” McClelland said. “I used to mock playing the guitar with tennis rackets and I made little guitars with cereal boxes and rubber bands. I have always loved music.”
McClelland”s love for music blossomed his freshman year at BYU as he finally recorded his first album in the basement of May Hall during winter semester 2000. McClelland said this album, called “Being Here”, will hopefully be followed by his second, still untitled album, in the next few months.
“Being Here” was a part of McClelland”s many concerts his freshman year, many times performing for over 100 people at the Rhapsody, which is now Papa Lee”s on University Avenue.
“I went to his first concert in ”99 at the Rhapsody,” said Julie Olsen, 21, a senior from Fairbanks, Alaska, majoring in psychology. “I like his music, it is like Dave Matthews. Eddie would draw a crowd of 100 kids. Sometimes I still listen to his songs to remember my freshman year.”
McClelland said his lyrics are influenced by observation of things around him, making many of his songs autobiographical, about his experiences at BYU.
McClelland said he wasn”t planning to come back to music after his mission. But his music was an avenue of expression he found he couldn”t live without.
“I came home from my mission and began to feel alive again,” McClelland said. “I had to express it.”
McClelland”s songs reflect the freedom, excitement and changes of life many BYU students have experienced. He writes of things like the excitement of coming to BYU, a place where you can be yourself, and the heartbreak at the engagement of your first love to another.
But McClelland”s favorite is “Forever Young” a song of hope and encouragement.
“It is a song about living life how you want,” McClelland said. “Never stop living, even if the past has been bad. You can always look forward with hope.”
The time spent in missionary service has not seemed to hurt McClelland”s music.
“Coming back from his mission, it sounded pretty good,” said Sean McKissick, 21, a sophomore from Concord, California, studying print journalism. “Eddie is branching out. He has added a new dimension to his sound.”
McKissick said the new dimension is the band McClelland is assembling.
The band members – Scott Herd on guitar, Matt Memmott with violin and piano and Melanie Wade on percussion – began writing music together last month. McClelland said the tentative name for the band is “Align.”
“Adding the band gives Eddie”s music a more full and complete sound,” McKissick said.
Align”s next concert will be at 8 p.m. Nov. 23 in the Riviera Lounge.