As a guitarist, singer, and educator for more than two decades, my mission
has always been to express artistic passion in the community and beyond.
I celebrate giving something back while considering my audience’s emotional
interests. I find it exciting to share my music with those willing to listen, one performance at a time, one song at a time, with a relentless goal of being a
conduit of inspiration and happiness. Through education I celebrate guiding
artists and music aficionados of all ages toward their goals.
--Erin McClelland, summer 2018
Guitarist/Vocalist Erin McClelland is an accomplished musical chameleon based in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. This tireless artistic journeyman performs well over 300 times a year in the tristate region and beyond and is comfortable performing for a myriad of engagements such as:
- an atmospheric solo acoustic set of classic and contemporary songs in a night club
- searing jazz-drenched sets with his Erin McClelland Band at the historic Deer Head Inn jazz club
- contributing to the elegance of a private celebratory event.
Often functioning like a contemporary troubadour, Erin is not one to simply go through the motions to “cover” songs, as his stylized interpretations of classic & contemporary popular music are often skillfully juxtaposed by striking performances of jazz standards. His unique vocal versions of landmark blues masterworks can deeply affect even the most casual of listeners. Erin proudly offers an approach of “something for everyone who is listening” that crosses generations and honors requests when appropriate. While having his ear to the ground for present-day popular music, he shifts fluidly between blues-drenched ballads, old school R&B, warm Motown medleys, sizzling jazz, feel-good romance standards, and the latest sounds. A myriad of influences during a decades-long study of American music results in pure Erin McClelland.
He is a master at coordinating with those who hire him to make sure that he fulfills their entertainment and artistic needs. It’s no wonder that Erin functions exceptionally in the corporate dining world with a long-standing residency four times a week as a solo performer or band member at Ruth’s Chris Steak House at Mohegan Sun Casino at Pocono Downs
A remarkably balanced professional, he is also an established college and university educator, having been an adjunct professor of music at Northampton Community College Monroe Campus for over 10 years. His successful influence on hundreds of students there led to an additional academic appointment in the Music Department at Marywood University.
Erin McClelland was born in Lake Placid, New York during the celebratory 1980 Winter Olympics. At an early age his family moved from their home in the Pocono Mountains to the Caribbean and Europe, where he was fortunate to live in Antigua, Spain, Germany, and Switzerland, including two years in the Alps. Back in the Poconos in the early 1990s, he started informal blues/rock guitar lessons and dabbled in piano at age 14 in 1994. Erin’s recreational efforts soon came to an end upon his musical epiphany when he heard a recording of soulfully iconic jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, thus galvanizing his fate. This illumination led him to serious music study with Pocono-based guitarist Spencer Reed, an inspirational teacher who 25 years on is a member of the Erin McClelland Band (symbiotic loyalty, indeed!). High School was followed by immersion at the celebrated Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where he was a modern jazz performance major in guitar techniques and pedagogical methods. There, he came under the influence of guitar masters Mick Goodrick, Wayne Krantz, Richie Hart, and Tim Miller while studying jazz composition with Greg Hopkins. His ensemble directors included Joe Lovano and Hal Crook. Ever the committed student, Erin continued to study with Crook for the next 15 years. He studied classical conducting with Valerie Taylor, traditional harmony & composition with Marti Epstein, and music history with Dennis Leclaire. Erin graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Guitar Performance in 2002.
He then moved back to Pennsylvania for a year to digest his profound east coast experiences before heading to Los Angeles in 2003 to delve into the contrasts of what the west coast had to offer. Erin was accepted into the Master’s program of the renowned Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. While at USC, Erin mentored under and performed with multi-Grammy winner Pat Metheny. His main teachers there included legendary Vince Mendoza with whom he became further engrossed in jazz composition while studying jazz pedagogical methods with Alan Pasqua, Shelly Berg, and Joe Diorio. Erin also delved into avant garde aesthetics, twentieth century music, the history of jazz, and research materials & techniques
He received a scholarship award that included serving as a Teaching Assistant for guitar levels 1 and 2 to non-majors in a classroom setting and private instruction for an entire year. For his five years in Los Angeles, he served as an integral part of the JazzReach Program at USC, an outreach program offered to neighborhood 8th and 9th grade inner-city youth providing instrumental instruction/big brother-mentorship. While with JazzReach, he gained valuable experience as the Assistant Band Director, rehearsing and directing a junior high and high school jazz big band.
His Master’s Degree in Studio/Jazz Guitar Performance from USC was conferred in 2008.
Always willing to travel to where music teaching and performance is happening, he spent time in Washington State on Whidbey Island and in Seattle where he led clinics in the art of group improvisation and interaction. Through the years, he also gained important experience teaching pre-school toddlers.
Obviously, high quality execution and longevity are two of Erin’s most impressive strengths and after 25 years as a performer, he still performs regionally as a solo acoustic guitarist and singer. He plays lead guitar in several bands, primarily his self-titled Erin McClelland Band, where each member of his band is an accomplished performer. In addition, he has performed at a variety of performance spaces including the Harvard Club in Boston, the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, the Sherman Theatre, as the closing act at the Delaware Water Gap COTA Jazz Festival, and on a Midwest tour with former members of the Coasters, Drifters, and Box Tops in a rock classics band. In addition to his decade-plus of collegiate teaching, Erin has been utilizing his skills on guitar, piano, and bass by teaching lessons for over 15 years. He has authored a manual on the art of improvisation for all instruments entitled Makin' the Changes: A linear approach to improvisation.
Erin has been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to perform with:
|John Popper of the group Blues Traveler
|| Nellie McKay
|Tim Carbone of the group Railroad Earth
||Walter Smith III
|Mike Sawitzke of the groups Eels and Dispatch