At age ten, Keith McEachern placed a bet and doubled down on music. Like many other musicians before him, it all began with Elvis Presley. McEachern was fascinated with the King—singing and performing Presley’s songs every opportunity he got. As he entered his teenage years, his love of Presley developed into a love of songwriting; multi-tracking instruments while locked in his bedroom for hours on end with his Tascam four-track tape recorder. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment McEachern made the decision to make music his life, but it’s clear the decision was made.
Fast forward to 2012. The WANDAS, the band McEachern cofounded at age 18 while attending music school in Boston, were sitting backstage at the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas for the third year in a row about to play a show with Dawes and The Lumineers. His time with the WANDAS had brought him so much of what he set out to achieve as the ten year-old version of himself: a four-year run of constant touring which brought him to just about every state in the U.S. and much of Canada, collaborations with members of the Stills, Stars, and the Dears, and critical acclaim for their three self-released albums that earned nods from USA Today, AOL Spinner, American Songwriter and Paste Magazine to name a few; all before his 30th birthday.
The number of brushes with near-stardom were plentiful, however, even with the help of corporate sponsorships and successful crowd-funded campaigns, it became increasingly difficult for frontman McEachern to balance life on the road while struggling financially to make ends meet back home. Following the end of a five year relationship, McEachern found himself physically and emotionally exhausted. With the blessing of his bandmates, he decided it was time to move on from the WANDAS and took a year long hiatus from music all together. After living in Boston for ten years, he moved back to his hometown of Worcester, MA. During that time he focused on self-improvement and getting to the root of what makes him happy.
For the first time in years, there was no timeline for McEachern’s next musical venture. All of the self-imposed and outside pressures of constantly trying to make it to the “next level” were stripped away and replaced with self-love and acceptance. When the time was right, he rented an old warehouse space and set up his recording gear. “The plan was to not have a plan. To simply create for the sake of enjoyment,” says McEachern. “There was no album in mind, no release schedule, no upcoming tour, nothing but me and my music gear.” A scenario that felt brand new but all so familiar at the same time.
The result is Double Down, his debut solo album. A set of ten songs that feature only McEachern as he wrote, recorded, mixed and performed every instrument himself. The songs are honest and real. Double Down takes a DIY approach and embodies a 20 year journey that has seen the highest highs and lowest lows. Dreams of fame and fortune have been replaced with a restored unconditional appreciation for his talents and his love of music. It may have not been the exact spot McEachern thought he’d be in, but as he sings on track three “at least I’m happy”.