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Musician Michael Yurich is back with new album and video

Well-known musician and songwriter has just released a new album entitled Hollywood Ain’t A Calling with a music video produced for the title track that was directed by his son

Long-time musician Michael Yurich is back with a new album of blues and rock songs, entitled Hollywood Ain't A Calling.

Yurich says the album features songs that tackle current issues of the day.

“I wrote a song called Run for Cover when they stormed the capital [in the U.S.] but kept the nuances out of it to avoid the politics,” says Yurich.

“The world is screwed up really.”

The singer-songwriter notes the challenge of people having too much information available at their fingertips.

“There’s a lot of information out there, but not a lot of useful information. There’s a lot that doesn’t really make sense … there are too many things going on and our society is breaking up. Those who have money hold onto their money, those who don’t lose their jobs and don’t. It’s a sad world.”

Yurich relates the issue to a friend of his who is living in Los Angeles.

“I feel sorry for him as he is a few nodules away from living on the streets,” says Yurich.

“At least in L.A. it’s warm enough to live outside there. But I do believe that in some ways our society is disintegrating.”

The first single from his new album is the title track, Hollywood Ain't A Calling.

It was inspired by society’s obsession with fame and how popular culture, especially film and music, has lost its inspiration.

“I don’t like a lot of new movies. The quality of movie-making is better technically, but good movies are about good stories and Hollywood has gone downhill. I think they’ve run out of plots and stories.”

Yurich’s son and filmmaker Jade Yurich, who works in the film industry, once again took on the task of shooting a music video for his father.

The younger Yurich previously directed and edited his father’s Love in Limbo video from 2020’s Identity album.

This time around Jade Yurich (and Angelica Falco for Post Production Support) tackled the album’s title track.

“I scaled down the approach from last time,” he says.

“This song was quite lyric-heavy so making sure we got all the best bits in the bank and having a well-planned strategy for what the green screen visuals would be took a lot of work.”

Despite any challenges, the director still enjoys the process of making videos for his father.

“Compared to Love in Limbo, this video was a lot more post-production-heavy. There were a lot of things happening in the frame with more playful effects ending up in the final cut. My dad and I both wanted to do a fun, comedy video and I think we accomplished what we set out to do.”

The video captures a more playful side of the performer.

“That was completely intentional,” the filmmaker says.

“There is a level of satire to it all, almost like one of our favourites, George Carlin.”

The video features a barrage of found clips from old movies to TV footage, featuring the Kardashians, Gucci shoes, George Clooney, and Billy Bob Thornton amongst other imagery.

“My dad told me the song was based on swing and the music of that era so I started researching movies on swing and finding little bits that would go well with the solos,” says Yurich.

“At the end of the day, the song grooves really well and we want people to dance to it. So we incorporated the dancing bits as a way to do that.”

The video clearly pokes at the concept of the Hollywood star system.

“Things have gotten phony,” says the senior Yurich.

“It’s not real anymore. It’s based on popularity and not based on skills.”

Yurich recognizes the underlying humour in much of his songwriting.

“I do what I do,” he laughs.

“I think I’m a bit of a crazy, offbeat character sometimes.”

The singer relates a story when he “met and partied” with comedic duo MacLean & MacLean.

“They really made me laugh,” he says.

“They were both comedic and political. Music is political as well. Anything that comes along becomes a fad and everybody jumps on board, I don’t like that. If you do something well, you should be recognized for what you do well. If you’re a classical musician, great. A blues musician, great. A rock musician, great. But you know there’s a lot of phony people. Everything is based on fads right now and fads are not a way of life.”

When talking about fads, the singer shares a story of when he went to a Hippie Commune in the 1960s.

“Was I a hippie? No. I went to the commune and I didn’t feel comfortable. I saw Leonard Cohen in a Toronto park. I think there are worthwhile causes and then other causes where people just like to sound off and pretend that they’re in a group. [The hippie concept] sort of got washed out after a while. It was a worthy cause at one point, but then after a while, things elevated with drug use and living on the streets and that was just bad news.”

The father-son team plan on producing a further video for the album, potentially for the COVID-inspired track called Nobody Knows.

Jade Yurich thinks a similar approach to the latest video would be well suited.

“It might be trendy and work,” he says.

“But as dad doesn't love fads, as you can tell… it may take some convincing.”

For the songwriter, being true to himself is always his approach to songwriting and in life.

“Don’t be afraid to be yourself,” he says.

“If other people are judging you for what you’re doing, don’t lift a finger for them. It’s very rigid in music right now … I thought by putting a diverse collection of songs on the album that I’d be able to not have any songs that sound like each other. I am always trying to reinvent myself.”

Hollywood Ain’t A Calling features Josh Norling on Saxophone, Valerie Powley on background vocals, Greg Kobe on vocals, keyboard and all arrangements.

“Greg did so much work on the entire album,” he says.

“I worked really hard on this CD. I wanted to showcase a lot more instrumentation and come up with more innovative, original guitar parts.”

Unlike 2020’s Identity album, Hollywood Ain’t A Calling will not be made available on streaming services.

“Last time around we put the album up on streamers (Apple Music, Amazon Prime, Spotify) but it didn’t actually result in any profits,” says Yurich.

“This time around I’m selling my own CD for $20 available via shipment or digital download link.”

The CD or download can be acquired by email Michael Yurich at yurichmichael@gmail.com.

Physical copies of the album will also be available at upcoming gigs as soon as the Sault music scene reopens post-pandemic. Watch the Hollywood Ain't A Calling videohere.