THE GREAT DIVIDE
If you were remotely invested in the roots music scenes in Oklahoma and Texas in the early 2000s, you knew who The Great Divide was and likely had seen them play a time or two – whether it was their own show or as part of a festival lineup. The band was playing 200 shows a year and released five albums together; they eventually signed a record deal with Atlantic Records in Nashville and garnered some chart success. Garth Brooks even recorded one of their songs.
When frontman Mike McClure left for a solo career in 2003, marking the end of the band as its original lineup—McClure, bassist Kelley Green and brothers Scotte and JJ Lester on rhythm guitar and drums—the break seemed definite. McClure moved on, releasing nine albums on his own, and for anyone who knew of their turbulent end, it was assumed the band would never reunite, let alone restore faith in one another.
Fast forward a decade, and The Great Divide found themselves playing shows together again, a starting point in moving past the chaotic time surrounding the band’s breakup. Fast forward another decade, and they’ve added a new member, keyboardist Bryce Conway, and released their first new studio album in 20 years.
Providence, released in fall 2022, looks at how far the band has come, as a group and individually, in the time since their last albums—and spends even more time looking ahead. “The overall arc of the record is dealing with time; it asks how much time we have left in our lives and how we want to spend the remaining years,” McClure says. “It’s about admitting the areas where work is needed and putting in the effort to do something about it.”