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Jane McNealy Launches New Label, Lo-Flo Records

Jane McNealy Launches New Label, Lo-Flo Records

Lo-Flo Records was a germ of an idea in the 1970s, and ultimately conceived in 2015 by the inimitable songwriter, composer, arranger, librettist, Jane McNealy.

The label officially launches with its very first release, "Turn Away from Darkness," a gospel tribute to triumph over adversity, which will premiere on August 28, 2020, along with a timely music video. The single precedes the label's debut album, Running Around, which is scheduled for release on October 2, 2020. It will be available on digital platforms as well as in limited quantities of vinyl and CD. Please visit Lo-Flo's Instagram page; updated website coming soon.

A song for the ages about hope in the face of despair, "Turn Away from Darkness" (TAFD) is sung by the incomparable Joyce Dunn (who had a brief stint with Santana). Piano accompaniment comes from the legendary Mac Rebennack (Dr. John). The track was produced by New Orleans' Harold Battiste, Jr., with words and music by Jane McNealy.

The black-and-white video is comprised of McNealy's own photos shot in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, as well as recent photos taken during the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests by a dozen different photographers from around the country. It is dedicated to the memory of esteemed composer, arranger, performer, educator, and activist Harold Battiste, Jr., a longtime mentor and friend of McNealy's. Please see the video here.

In McNealy's own words:

"I have written a song about the spirit of hope and the challenge that comes with change. 'Turn Away From Darkness,' was released on Mercury Records in 1969. To bring relevance to the present, I have merged this song with a video reflecting society's eternal struggle to survive conflict and pain. As we face tomorrow, we face ourselves, but the foundation of hope is a flame that burns eternally, guiding us through darkness to peace."

The name Lo-Flo was inspired by a New Orleans-influenced laid-back, "go with the flow" creole vibe that surely rubbed off on McNealy from longtime musical mentor and comrade Harold Battiste, Jr. Back in 2015, the label was conceived as an archiving project-a dusting-off and revisiting scores of old sheet music, records and reel-to-reel tape-in order to document McNealy's rich musical history with respect to both songs written and relationships forged.

But fate intervened and McNealy's journey to re-discover her musical roots was shattered in 2017 when she was diagnosed with cancer (stage 4 ovarian Carcinosarcoma MMMT). Suddenly, McNealy's relaxed countenance became a rude awakening. So to newly define and bring some order to her rich and storied life in music, she pulled together the various threads of her career under a more purposeful "roof"-not only for her own sense of completeness, but so she could make a bigger contribution in the world.

While the last three years of battling illness and pulling together all the material that will comprise Lo-Flo's initial releases has not been easy, it has most certainly been rewarding.

McNealy's archive is a treasure trove of wonderfully eclectic songs, played and sung by talented artists of the '60s/'70s. McNealy's record label not only celebrates her wide-ranging musical accomplishments, but a free and exploratory sound that had evolved on the West Coast at the time, along with the tighter and more structured orchestrations of McNealy's musicals.

Lo-Flo isn't just a blast from the past, though. McNealy is still driven, perhaps more than ever, to write and share new music. She's working on future albums, Epiphany and Denouement, which depart from the more carefree nature of McNealy's earlier work reflecting more existential, complex melodies. This more modern work sees her confronting mortality and contemplating her multifaceted and prolific life and career. Life conspires to light a fire beneath us and create moments of action. The launch of Lo-Flo is this "moment" for Jane McNealy, and however it came about, we can all be thankful for it.

In the spirit of giving back, and leaving not only a creative legacy of musical memories and enjoyment but a deeper one of solidarity, and making a tangible contribution to causes both near and dear, a major portion of the earnings from Lo-Flo's sales will go to two charities: the American Cancer Society, and the ACLU. The remainder will be used to pay staff and operating costs.

To really understand the eclectic collection of music that is Lo-Flo Records is to know the musical mastermind behind it. So....

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