Talent takes SM East grad to Nashville, national radio waves

Jordan Walker (left) and Johnny McGuire

It’s been a wild year for Johnny McGuire.

The 2007 SM East graduate finished up college at KU in 2011 with an itch to chase the dream of country music stardom. And after pondering the move for several months, he pulled up his Kansas roots last year and headed east to Nashville, Tenn.

Figuring he’d better hit the ground running, McGuire showed up at an open mic night at The Commodore Grille four nights after arriving in town. He found himself onstage a few hours later singing and playing guitar with a group of total strangers — some of whom were more talented than others.

“There was this other younger guy up on stage and we were kind of laughing afterwards about some of the other guys who’d been playing, and we just hit it off and started talking,” McGuire said.

That other younger guy turned out to be Jordan Walker, a Texas native who now makes up the other half of Walker McGuire — a duo that appears to be knocking on the doorstep of breaking through to serious national exposure.

McGuire and Walker spent months working with Nashville vets — including a producer who had written for Alan Jackson in the 1990s — and putting together a collection of original songs. They became open mic night regulars, garnering lavish for their vocal harmonies. And then two months ago, after an open mic performance at Hotel Indigo, a producer for the nationally syndicated Big D and Bubba radio show approached them.

“He told us they’d been looking for an act that had the talent to get signed, but hadn’t been signed yet, and they wanted to have us on the show to play live,” he said. “It was crazy.”

Walker McGuire made their Big D and Bubba debut last month — the segment is called “Chasin’ the Dream” — and have been on three times since. Check out the video of their first performance here:

The exposure has, as you might imagine, been a good thing.

“It’s been nuts for the past month,” McGuire said. “We haven’t signed any deal yet or anything, but we’ve got some meetings on the books with big labels. We’ll just see where it goes.”

(If you want to see them before the become superstars and it costs $150 to get into the concert, McGuire says they’re scheduled to play a festival in Eudora June 22. Mark your calendars).

UPDATED: Here are the deets on the above-mentioned show: https://www.eventbrite.com/event/6295186071/efblike