December Northside Man: Art McNaughton

Photo submitted by Art McNaughton
Art McNaughton, graphic designer, and drummer for Hard Luck and Trouble rockabilly band.
Photo submitted by Art McNaughton
Art McNaughton, right, drummer for Hard Luck and Trouble rockabilly band.
Photo submitted by Art McNaughton
Oil paintings by Art McNaughton: Reflections 1946
Photo submitted by Art McNaughton
Oil paintings by Art McNaughton: Winter Storage

Northside Man: Art McNaughton, graphic designer, and drummer for Hard Luck and Trouble rockabilly band.
Hometown:  Chicago, Illinois
City of residence:  Cumming
College/Degree:  Milliken University (Decatur, Ill.)/ Fine Arts (painting)

Career opportunities brought Art McNaughton to metro Atlanta in 2005 where he applies his graphic arts and creative side as the brand equity director for O’Sullivan Industries. But his lifetime love of music and performing – planted when he saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show – are frequently unleashed as a member of the Hard Luck and Trouble rockabilly group. During the group’s high energy performances, get ready for a show that could take you anywhere from Southern rock to Taylor Swift.

Where did your musical journey begin?

It really began when my aunt exposed me to her collection of Big Band and jazz music. Growing up in the ‘60s with the “British Invasion” combined with mass media and television as a platform for these performers, music became much more accessible and influential. In Chicago my twin brother, Roy, and younger brother, Bob, formed a band which really started our musical journey. In college, we played in the Jazz Lab band. After graduation we went down different paths but have all continued to perform — not letting corporate life interfere.

Define rockabilly and how it differs from other music genres?

Rockabilly is really the roots of rock and roll. It originally combined country music with rhythm and blues. The fact that it can be vocal and harmony-oriented like bluegrass supported by an infectious, energetic groove is very appealing to me. The songs tend to be simplistic in their orchestration and usually tell a story. Sometimes tragic, but usually fun and more than likely upbeat, which gets both the performer and audience moving.
What is it about live performances that you enjoy most?

I think as a performer if you don’t interact with the audience you might as well pack it up and go home. Playing live offers its own set of challenges and opportunities. We receive requests and actually encourage it when we perform. There are certain songs, for one reason or the other, we really don’t care to play, but if someone desperately wants to hear it we try to accommodate them. The real fun is trying to play these songs, yet add our own spin to it. We recently were requested to play something by Lynyrd Skynyrd and another by Taylor Swift. So we combined “Free Bird” and “Shake It Off” into one “mash up”. Usually the audience reaction is priceless.  

How important is it to include music education in schools?

Music programs in school goes way beyond teaching kids to play an instrument. On an individual level, kids learn to master a skill in reading music and playing an instrument which requires discipline and perseverance. On a larger scale, music programs foster team building – kids learning to work together and perform as a single cohesive unit. It encourages diversity. My high school band was a melting pot of races and cultures. Music is an international form of communication and transcends all barriers.

In your free time, where  will we find you?

I was a painting major in college and I devote a lot of spare time to just that. I love the smell of the oil paint and it’s texture. Most people think painting is relaxing but it tends to be just the opposite. There is a certain excitement level generated when I paint. Just like playing music, a conversation starts up. At the end of the day, it can be very exhausting. In the coming months, I plan on devoting more time to painting. A few of my pieces have just recently been picked up by Kai/Lin Gallery in Atlanta with a few of them being displayed in a special showing at The Boiler Room of Ponce City Market. The exhibition will run now through January 14, 2018. ■


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
This month's issue

Farrah Haidar, left, and Hala Yassine, are two of the seven sisters involved in Seven Sisters Scones in Johns Creek, offering their customers a modern take on a traditional breakfast treat.
Read more page 20.



December 2017 Calendar of Events...

Read more

770.442.3278 | 770.475.1216 (fax)

Read more