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Extra resources for Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990 (Volume 2)
On MCA she achieved stardom through infusing her recordings with more of her tough but tender personality. Proving herself a skilled dramatic interpreter, McEntire shone on songs that cast her in a wide range of roles, from bored society wife in “Little Rock” to the neglected spouse of “Whoever’s in New England” (both 1986). On the latter she establishes a new female country image for the late 1980s; neither aggressive nor overly submissive, McEntire sounds confident that her husband will come back: “When whoever’s in New England’s through with you / And Boston finds better things to do .
Despite critical acclaim and belated popular acceptance, McClinton remains a “cult” singer—a performer who releases consistently fine albums, attracting a devoted following while falling short of pop crossover stardom. Early Critical Success A product of the fertile Texas music scene, McClinton grew up in Fort Worth, where he began performing in nightclubs during his teens. By the late 1950s he was playing harmonica behind blues performers such as Jimmy Reed and Bobby “Blue” Bland. In 1960 he recorded a blues single, “Wake Up Baby,” and later played the distinctive harmonica part on Bruce Channel’s number one pop hit, “Hey!
McLachlan’s childhood in Halifax was sheltered and solitary. The daughter of Doris and Jack, an American marine biologist, she spent much of her youth writing songs. From the outset of her career at the age of nineteen, with the debut album Touch (1988), critics compared McLachlan’s superb vocal range to other singer/songwriters, namely Tori Amos for her frankness, Joni Mitchell for her honesty, and Kate Bush for her tone. Most critics regard her third album, Fumbling Toward Ecstasy (1993), as her watershed achievement.