VFR Records celebrated the success of Mark McGuinn ’s self-titled debut album Thursday (July 26) with an old-fashioned political rally in the label’s Music Row parking lot. The political theme was also VFR’s way of urging Country Music Association members to vote for McGuinn for the organization’s Horizon Award, the winner of which will be announced in November.
While McGuinn has yet to score a No. 1 single or a gold record, his chart positions and record sales have been remarkably high for an artist on a relatively new and independent label. The red, white and blue signs placed along Music Row in preparation for the party read, “Win With McGuinn/Vote Independent.”
McGuinn’s first single was the frolicsome “Mrs. Steven Rudy.” His current one is “That’s a Plan.”
As with most political rallies, this one was big on beer, barbecue and backslapping. Kids carrying baskets of McGuinn-emblazoned badges and cardboard fans roamed the smoke-filled parking lot, timidly offering the souvenirs to anyone who made eye contact.
Nashville’s former mayor, the flamboyant, harmonica-playing Bill Boner, gave the “keynote” speech and presented McGuinn with a plaque that noted his achievements. Boner observed that the party was similar to conventional politics because “a lot of stuff is going on behind the scenes.”
Wearing a long-sleeved white shirt with the tail out and a tiny, crumpled black hat, the slim, bespectacled McGuinn looked more geeky than country. After enduring the ex-mayor’s torrent of compliments, the singer stepped to the microphone, gazed out at the good-natured crowd and squawked nervously, “This is creepy.” Well, that’s politics.