Rod McCormack / BIO
After years of producing award-winning — often reaching gold or platinum status — records, for an eclectic mix of artists in pop, country, rock, electronic and more, Aussie musician Rod McCormack is stepping out front with his debut release, the acoustic Fingerprints.
With Fingerprints, McCormack — an in-demand musician who has played with and toured with the likes of Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Glen Campbell, Keith Urban, Trisha Yearwood, Tommy Emmanuel and more, and as a songwriter written over 400 titles recorded and released by other artists around the globe (including over 30 number one country hits, theme songs and soundtracks) — decided it was time to “make something that actually represents me; I wanted to write songs that
show who I am, who I grew up listening to, music that my kids would be proud of.
“I spent years listening to my idols like Tony Rice, New Grass Revival and so many others,” says McCormack. “The acoustic scene in Australia is a great thing. We have some incredible festivals and performers but it feels like most of the writers and players I really admire are in the United States, so it keeps drawing me here.
All of these people influenced me in so many ways, you can’t help but learn when you get to play with these great artists.
“Musically, my biggest influences have been Gordon Lightfoot, Tony Rice, Alison Krauss, New Grass Revival, James Taylor and so many others. I constantly chase new and old music, searching for things that inspire, new things to learn and so often that takes me back in time — I might discover an artist and instantly hear her Joni Mitchell influence, and that makes me want to play Blue again, which is one of my all-time favorite albums.”
Fingerprints was recorded largely at the famed Nashville-based Sound Emporium studios, and McCormack enlisted help from some of the top players in acoustic music, including Dave Pomeroy (upright bass), Andy Leftwich (mandolin, fiddle and tenor guitar), Aubrey Haynie (fiddle and mandolin), Rob Ickes and Justin Moses (dobro). McCormack provided guitar, banjo, papoose, lead vocals and backing vocals.
“Here in Australia I have produced many projects and, over time, I have developed a method that kinda works for me that helps me figure out who an artist is musically and what’s important to say, etc.,” he explains. “But self-producing just felt easy, because really I was trying to make music that I liked, that made me feel good. Fingerprints had to be an acoustic album because when I cut it right back to the music that really attracts me, moves me and makes me feel the most immersed in it — it’s acoustic, bluegrass-tinged with some folk and story-telling country.
McCormack had a hand in writing every song on the album, working along with such top cowriters as John Scott Sherrill, Rory Bourke, Fred Koller, Tomi Lunsford and McCormack’s wife (and Australian Country SuperStar) Gina Jeffreys.
“In 1994, Gina (we were songwriting partners back then) was asked to open for Johnny Cash for his Australian tour,” McCormack recalls. “This really established her career, which was fantastic, and it was amazing to spend time with Johnny and June and also Kris Kristofferson. It was like a nightly lesson in the power of a great song, and what true star power really is. They were so generous and humble and I fell so lucky that I had that opportunity.”
Among McCormack’s many honors include being named CMAA Producer of the Year in 2004, 2008 and again in 2010. His recording studio, “The Music Cellar” on the NSW Central Coast, which has hosted the cream of Australia’s musical talent, bringing to life numerous Gold and Platinum albums. In 2006 the CMAA awarded McCormack their inaugural “Musician Of The Year.” A multi- instrumentalist, McCormack plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, lap steel, piano, hammond and more and in 1985 toured the American bluegrass circuit, winning the Colorado guitar and banjo championship, the Tennessee guitar and banjo championship and the West Virginia banjo championship. He has been both the Australian Guitar and Banjo champion 3 times each, before becoming a judge of the event. In recent years McCormack has toured the US and Europe with Grammy nominated US based The Greencards.