John McKelvy, founding member of The Earl Brothers and the haunting high lonesome tenor voice on such songs as "Cluck Ol’ Hen," "O Poor Betty," "Rattlesnake Poison," and many others, has announced his departure from the pioneering "hillbilly-goth" group.
McKelvy broke the news in a blog post on the band’s MySpace profile page this week, shortly after returning from a tour of the United Kingdom.
Providing what many consider the group’s signature sound‚Äîan unforgettable, hard-edged tenor voice‚Äîand unique songwriting style, McKelvy helped lead The Earl Brothers to featured performances at the IBMA World of Bluegrass, abundant critical accolades for two full-length albums of original material, and relentless tours across North America and the United Kingdom. For the past seven years, McKelvy played rhythm guitar, sang lead and backing vocals, and authored many of the songs on the group’s 2004 debut, “Whiskey, Women and Death” and last year’s “Troubles to Blame”.
Citing "irresolvable issues" and "profound differences" between himself and the band, McKelvy explained in the blog post he would "no longer be contributing in any way to the group." Although he did not allude to any specific projects, McKelvy said that he does "plan to continue making music and will be announcing a new project in the next few months."
"It has been a privilege to be a part of this project and I will always think fondly on my seven years with The Earl Brothers," McKelvy wrote. "I wish them luck on all their future endeavors."
The news of McKelvy’s departure leaves Bobby Earl Davis‚Äîthe band’s other contributing songwriter and lead vocalist‚Äîas the sole remaining founding member of The Earl Brothers. Davis has already replaced McKelvy with another tenor singer and plans to continue touring and recording under The Earl Brothers name. Rumors have been circulating that a new album of Davis-authored material is in the works.
McKelvy claims no bad blood between himself and Davis, who responded to the post in a comment that reads in part, "The Earl Brothers wish you all the best in your new career plans‚Ä¶. It takes a special dedication and perseverance to get through the demands of a hard traveling road band like the Earl Brothers for seven years." McKelvy’s fans have posted numerous other comments, all of which are viewable at the band’s MySpace page, www.myspace.com/earlbrothers.
John McKelvy is available by telephone and e-mail for interviews regarding his departure from The Earl Brothers. Contact Richard Parks at 323/640.4615 and firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an interview.