“I’ve got friends who... will help me pull through.”
Those are the words that anchor Andrew McMahon’s love fest of a jam, La La Lie. That tune debuted nearly 13 years ago, and since then, a lot has changed for the former Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin frontman. He’s dabbled in solo work, survived leukemia, married the love of his life, and had a daughter, and now he's steamrolling through the airwaves as the face of Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.
Amid the changes, McMahon has kept and made some great friends. And a handful of them are now hitting the road with him for a one-of-a-kind tour. The Pen & the Piano Tour will hit Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale this Friday.
“This is all very awesome and wild for us,” McMahon says. “We’re onstage pumping each other up, and you can see that we really do love one another. It’s been like mindful meditation on the daily... and we all believe that there can be better things if we put something better out there in the world. I will say that I’ll be truly sad when this tour is over.”
The friends joining McMahon for this trek include Zac Clark, Bob Oxblood, and Allen Stone. New and longtime McMahon fans will recognize all three of these folks.
Clark is an integral part of the Wilderness lineup, someone McMahon describes as “an amazing keyboard player, singer, and old soul who makes Americana music sound perfect.” Oxblood was McMahon’s “right-hand man in Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate” and has since made his melancholic, classical finger-picking vibe solo with success. And then there's McMahon’s buddy Allen Stone, whom the band leader describes as a rock star and true soul singer who “can fill any room.”
The tunes are presented in a very homey and comfortable manner.
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“What’s crazy is that we didn’t see this Mr. Rogers way of presentation coming our way,” McMahon laughs. “But we are throwing it back to a '60s and '70s variety-TV-show feel... with a fireplace and windows that people peer into. These guys are brothers in a way, and we want to give that love and positivity to the audience.”
Expect to hear the classics as well as seldom-played jams spanning McMahon’s 20-ish years in the biz. Count on "Cecilia and the Satellite," "Dark Blue," "I Woke Up in a Car," and seemingly everything between. And as for new tunes, it seems they are well in the works.
“When I got home from our last round of touring... over the course of a month or two months, I wrote some tunes that I’m really in love with,” McMahon says. “I basically woke up at Christmas — after writing — and had a whole album's worth of tunes.”
An Acoustic Evening With Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness & Friends. 7 p.m. Friday, June 15, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale; jointherevolution.net. Tickets cost $27.50.