Oklahoma wife-and-husband duo Maggie McClure and Shane Henry drop a cool video for an equally cool song of perseverance and encouragement.
Maggie McClure (songwriter, keys, piano, vocals) and Shane Henry (songwriter, guitar, vocals) make up the Americana duo the Imaginaries. The two born-and-raised Oklahomans — she from Norman, he from Verden — live in Norman and have been making music together for 15 years.
“We’ve been solo artists for years and then the Imaginaries band was born in 2018,” McClure says. “We spent months brainstorming to come up with the perfect band name. We didn’t want to just use our first names but wanted this project to have its own identity. Shane woke me up in the middle of the night one night during this process and said, “Hey, what about the Imaginaries”? We instantly loved it and the creative and adventurous undertone the name had.”
The duo has been walking on a wire over the past eight months with more than their share of setbacks. Shane had to undergo an emergency appendectomy, which was followed by a few grueling months of pain and complications during a longer-than-expected healing process. Once he recovered they received news that they were chosen to open for Brian Setzer Orchestra’s annual “Christmas Rocks! Tour, only for it to be suddenly canceled because Brian came down with a severe case of tinnitus. Then Maggie had unexpected invasive gum surgery, which kept her from singing for two months. They had worked diligently on booking shows for spring-summer 2020 to support their pending album release when Covid-19 took hold of the world. So they switched gears and decided to release a series of singles to get their music out there.
We loved the duo’s previous two videos — “Revival” and “Thinking ‘Bout You” — so we’re excited to premiere the video of their song “Walking on a Wire.” We’ve also got their Feel Good Playlist and an interview about their music, sticking with it when times get tough, and the faith they have that we’ll all get to the other side.
Cowboys & Indians: We’re excited to be premiering your video for “Walking on a Wire.” Before we get to the video, though, let’s talk about the song.
Maggie McClure: I started writing ‘Walking on a Wire’ while going through a challenging time thinking about our constant struggles in pursuit to make it as artists and I brought it to Shane to help finish and round out the song. We’ve been pushing for so long and working so hard at our music careers and are firm believers in hard work and seeing things through. But like many artists, this career path has been anything but easy. It’s a balancing act of constantly managing our emotions every day when one minute, you are given an opportunity and in a split second, it can be taken away due to circumstances completely out of our control. In the end, we always push forward and hold on to our faith and each other. The song encompasses our tireless quest of not giving up, although sometimes it would be very easy to do so. Ultimately this is a song about true resilience and keeping the faith and staying the course, no matter what. When you have a deep calling like we do for music, there’s just no way you can’t be doing it. It’s in our bones. In the bridge of the song we are encouraging each other and ourselves by singing “We can make it, make it to the other side.” The repetition enforces the lyrics and by the end of the bridge we’re fully convinced that we indeed can make it to the other side.
Shane Henry: The song changed a lot from where it started to where it ended up. We've written a lot of songs about struggle. At the time when we wrote this, we were having a really hard time making ends meet doing music. We realized we had to find a way to make it work or we weren’t going to be able to do it forever. That is a very harsh realization when you love something so much. As time passes and you get older, there’s a sense of urgency to figure out how to make it work that also comes into play. In the song we talk about being stuck on a wheel spinning ’round and ’round — this explores the daily life we have, where we keep working so hard and do everything we feel like we are supposed to do, yet we keep finding ourselves lost or what feels like running in circles.
C&I: And how about the video, which put you together again with the director who did your other videos. …
McClure: The concept for the music video came to us when we had a brainstorming session with our director Reagan Elkins. I had been a part of a production that filmed in the Little Sahara State Park in Waynoka, Oklahoma, years ago and mentioned how impressive it was, and a desert theme really resonated with all of us. Unlike our other music videos, in this one Shane and I are separated and are searching for each other throughout the whole video. It reflects the idea of being lost in more than just a physical sense. As we struggle to figure out where we are and what to do next, we almost give up at multiple points in the video, but never do. Throughout the video we receive various glimpses of hope that vanish before our eyes. These visuals are symbolic for what has happened in our lives and career the past year. The video and song are about hanging on by a thread, being pushed to the limits, but never actually giving up. Ultimately we rise and come together in the end. The video has a very dreamlike quality to it, where there is symbolism throughout and a lot is left up to the viewer for interpretation.
Henry: The music video is very artsy and symbolic compared to our recent other videos. We didn’t want to be literal with the imagery and lyrics in this video because we wanted there to be some added mystery and depth. Filming in the desert is not an easy task and our small crew did a fantastic job. The location was very remote and it was pretty hot in the desert when we filmed. We had to take an off-road ATV out to the dunes and spent a lot of time in the blazing sun. We filmed for two days total. We are really proud of these bodies of work and can’t wait for our fans to hear the song and see the music video. We always love filming in our home state of Oklahoma, and the dunes in Waynoka and the Gloss Mountains were just perfect for this.
C&I: It seems particularly poignant and apropos right now. …
McClure: Considering what we are all going through during these unprecedented times, it feels as though our world is going through a “desert season” of sorts. We are all wandering through an endless tough landscape that feels like there is no end in sight. There is a lot of uncertainty and fear of the unknown where we are. Throughout history we’ve all seen people go through desert periods — literally and metaphorically — and it’s important for us all to remember that in the desert season is where mankind innovates, figures things out, and ultimately experiences major breakthroughs and comes out so much stronger on the other side (in this case the other side being our “new normal.”
C&I: How did you get into music?
The Imaginaries: We both got into music at a very young age and made our first solo albums as teens. Music has always been our passion and calling and is the force that ultimately brought us together.
C&I: What did you grow up listening to? Who are some of your musical influences?
The Imaginaries: I [Maggie] grew up listening to Bonnie Raitt, Sarah McLachlan, Amy Grant, Norah Jones, and tons of movie soundtracks. Shane grew up listening to the Beatles, Sam Cooke, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and tons more. As a band, we love Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, Fleetwood Mac, the Civil Wars, Tom Petty, and many more.
C&I: How do you label or describe your music?
The Imaginaries: The Imaginaries is Americana and singer-songwriter. There are hints of what we both do as solo artists — Shane’s blues style meshes with my pop sensibilities — combined with what only exists when the two of us are making music together (a roots-rock sound) and that is what makes the Imaginaries’ music what it is.
C&I: Let’s dig in a little more on “Walking on a Wire.” Who’s playing on it, who produced it, where was it recorded?
The Imaginaries: Rob Humphreys is on drums; Shonna Tucker on bass; Kelvin Holly and Shane Henry on guitars; Chad Copelin, Dan Walker, NC Thurman, and myself [Maggie McClure] on keys; Shane Henry and myself on vocals. “Walking on a Wire” was produced by Shane Henry and myself with additional production by Chad Copelin. It was recorded at Portside Sound inside Cypress Moon Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
C&I: What were the sessions like?
The Imaginaries: The sessions for this song were easy and so much fun! Getting to work with all the great session players in Muscle Shoals was a real treat. Working with Chad Copelin at Blackwatch Studios in Norman, Oklahoma, on the final touches was an awesome experience as well!
C&I: Any good stories about creating, producing, and performing “Walking on a Wire”?
The Imaginaries: This song is very emotional and always a favorite to perform live. We are excited because it was heavily featured in a film that recently came out. [The Bella Thorne crime movie Infamous, out now, chose “Walking on a Wire” for a featured scene in the Bonnie and Clyde-esque film.] You just never know what certain songs are going to do or how they are going to speak or find a way.
C&I: Do you have a favorite moment in the music?
The Imaginaries: The lyrics “We can make it, make it to the other side,” which we repeat over and over in the bridge. When the section starts it’s as if we don’t quite believe it, but by the end of the section we are fully convinced that we will make it to the other side. Musically this is an epic part of the song as well. We want listeners to be encouraged and know that they are not alone. We are all in this together and we can make it to the other side.
More On The Imaginaries
The band has been doing a string of livestream performances, including their Facebook Live Concert Series, “Quarantunes,” Rockwood Music Hall’s Rockwood Livestream Concerts series, Monday Monday at the Hotel Café, as well as local Oklahoma performances. Connect with the band on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and check out more of their music on Spotify.
The Imaginaries’ Feel Good Playlist
“Pretty Girl” — David Ryan Harris
“September 22nd” — Nathan Angelo
“Something to Talk About” — Bonnie Raitt
“Cmon Talk” — Bernhoft
“All You Need Is Love” — The Beatles
“O, Holy Night” — Aaron Neville
“You Send Me” — Sam Cooke
“Swingin’” — John Anderson
“First Thing on My Christmas List” — The Imaginaries
“Thinking ’Bout You” — The Imaginaries
“Queen of California” — John Mayer
“Brand New” — Ben Rector
Photography: Images courtesy Chad Cosper