No Strange Face to Saugerties Music

The dream of  performing has always motivated Kevin McLaren, a Saugerties native, to pick up his guitar and play.  McLaren, a seasoned vocalist as well, will be among the many local artists sharing their talents at the Morse Rocks Music and Arts Festival on June 17 and 18 at the Smokin’ Pony BBQ in Saugerties.

Mick Foley requested Kevin's accompaniment due to his ability to maintain composure in the midst of a serious moment.

Mick Foley requested Kevin’s accompaniment due to his ability to maintain composure in the midst of a serious moment.

A regional bank manager by day, he has never let his desire to play sit dormant.  The callouses on his fingers are not from counting coins.  He is a string bender who has kept audiences entertained since his teenage days with the locally famous “Strange Faces” and has since played with numerous local acts including “Crawdaddy”, “Late Night Bloomer”, “Benni and the Bricklayers”, and most recently, “I Got A Rock”, a band which includes his two sons Matthew and Adam.

No stranger to the likes of many local legends such as The Band’s Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel,

Kevin enjoys talking shop with Grace Potter, Rachel Price, Eddie Kramer, Jon Anderson and of course, all the boys in the original NRBQ.  “I don’t know, they just feel comfortable around me. For the women, I know it’s


Kevin gives Rachel Price a few vocal tips.

my good looks, but the men, I hope its not my good looks,” he jokes.

You will be sure to see Kevin bouncing around with many of the bands as he is eager to get up and play with anyone who will allow him to plug in.  I Got A Rock plays Friday night, June 17.  Tickets are on sale now!

Here is a give and take from our interview with him.

Why are you returning to Morse Rocks?

Last year was a great time, and I am hopeful that this year will be even better. And I was asked.

As a young artist, what were some of the challenges you faced in getting gigs and getting noticed?

Grace is legally blind as her smile leads us to believe.

Grace is legally blind as her smile leads us to believe.

Actually gigs were easier when I was younger, as there were many places to play.  However, younger people now can lever social media to get their name and music out.

What do you think a festival such as Morse Rocks does for all artists?

It is a great opportunity to play for old and new friends, and for those not participating yet something to shoot for.

Why is it important for artists to share information and ideas?

Everyone has different perspectives and ideas and it is great to see and be inspired by others.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Find your own voice, we all have influences and idols but you need to be yourself to bring something to a performance.


What are some of the high points of your career?

Singing an NRBQ song and having Terry Adams come in the bar and tell me I sang my a#$ off on the song.

What can audiences expect from your performance?

They will not cringe

Who are the members of your band?

Matt McLaren on guitar, Adam McLaren on drums, Sal Oliveri on Sax and Mr. Benni Spirig on whatever he wants.

Any other information you would like to include?

I hope people come, have a great time, support a great cause and next year bring more friends.