The name Pat McLaughlin is well-known in Nashville circles. His songs have been recorded by Trisha Yearwood, Steve Wariner, John Prine, Don Williams and Tim O’Brien, to name a few.
Once upon a time, he was a major-label act himself, cutting two albums for Capitol – one of which was never released but often cited as one of 1990’s best. McLaughlin didn’t fall from grace, he fell victim to financial circumstance.
A much-contented McLaughlin has resurfaced on dos/Antone’s Records, releasing “Unglued,” a mixed bag of country and rock in the vein of John Hiatt. And he will be touring with the Subdudes in April.
“When you get a deal on a major label, there’s a lot of jive talkin’ going on,” the Nashville-based singer-songwriter says. “I was just happy to get a chance for a record deal like that (with Capitol).”
McLaughlin’s self-titled debut in ’88, produced by Mitchell Froom (Crowded House), uncorked one of Nashville’s best-kept secrets. It signaled the end of many years drifting from one town to another, making ends meet with carpentry work and assorted odd jobs.
“But when they didn’t put the second record out, it wasn’t so much a disappointment as it was psychedelic,” McLaughlin says of the ill-fated followup “Get Out and Stay Out,” a victim of Capitol’s recessionary rush to cut costs and its roster. “Capitol owns the masters, but I have a DAT of it, so I might sell it out the back of my car.”
Joking aside, McLaughlin prefers the smaller-label touch.
“You can really talk to them and tell them what’s going on, where with a big label you really don’t. You speak to a spokesperson.”