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Time flies for songwriter Edwin McCain when you're making songs

| Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 6:54 p.m.
Singer Edwin McCain
Brian Nelson
Singer Edwin McCain

Whether it's been a day or two decades since his debut in pop music — in fact, it's been the latter — Edwin McCain says it all feels the same.

“It feels like five minutes have gone by,” says the native and resident of Greenville, S.C. “It goes by in a blink, but it seems like a lifetime ago. I guess the overwhelming thing I can feel is gratitude.”

McCain, who will perform June 1 at Stage AE on the North Shore, recorded his first independent demo in 1991, and issued his debut album, “Solitude,” two years later.

His 1995 major-label debut, “Honor Among Thieves,” led to a chain of albums, including “Messenger” in 1999, “Far From Over” in 2001, “Lost in America” in 2006, and “Nobody's Fault but Mine” in 2008. McCain became known for romantic songs such as “I'll Be” and “I Could Not Ask for More,” often played at weddings.

While success in the music world necessitates talent, fate plays a role, too, McCain says.

“In my 20s, I had such a blind faith that it was going to happen,” he says. “I didn't know how ridiculously impossible it really is. There's an incredible amount of pure struck-by-lightning ... pure luck. It's never escaped me that that's been (a part) of my life, and so it keeps me grateful. ... I work toward things I have, things I want to do and try to accomplish. If they don't happen, I assume there's something else coming.”

McCain's 10th and most recent album — “Mercy Bound,” from 2011 — was a long time coming, after seven years of working with fellow songwriter and close friend Maia Sharp. The two didn't sing another duet, like their “Say Anything” from 2004, but they shared the songwriting, which helped to diversify the album and helped McCain focus on his family, with his wife, Christy, and three young children.

“The perspective is a little bit broader, because it's not just my tunnel vision,” he says. “And I think for me, personally, — having three kids and trying to manage my life — being able to sort of pass the songwriting duties off a little bit ... helps me in my personal life beyond belief.”

Now, besides touring, McCain is developing a reality show called “Boats Have Souls,” in which he will restore old boats. He loves restoring old things, a major hobby of his, McCain says. He has shot the initial footage and is pitching it to networks including Spike, Travel Channel and History.

“It's a natural progression to be able to transition into a new type of storytelling and gives me a new vehicle.”

Meanwhile, McCain does charity work for the Greenville-based Meyer Center for Special Children, a school that serves children with disabilities such as autism and spina bifida. The center helps the kids function at their best and live fulfilling lives, says McCain, who recently donated his Porsche to the center, which got $16,000 from the donation.

“This is the place where God works,” McCain says.

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7824.

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