Not to be confused with the actor and comedian from the popular comedy troupe the Kids in the Hall, Mark McKinney is a singer and songwriter from Austin, Texas, whose rowdy blend of country and rock and swaggering style have earned him a loyal following in the Lone Star State and a rising profile on the national country scene. Born in Big Spring, Texas, McKinney began his career in music in the early '90s with his brother Eric McKinney; they formed the group the McKinney Brothers and were a frequent presence on the Austin club scene. In 1997 the group went on hiatus, and with their friend Rob Dennis, the brothers put together a roots rock outfit called the Cosmic Cowboys. The Cosmic Cowboys quickly attracted the attention of a major label's Nashville division, but several years of dealing with A&R people and attempting to craft material to suit the label's idea of what the group should be led to a dead end, and the Cosmic Cowboys instead opted to release their album through their own independent label, Texas Time Records.
While still a member of the Cosmic Cowboys, Eric began to focus his energies on their recording studio, Wonderland Studios, and Mark became the group's headliner. After writing some material for noted Texas singer Kevin Fowler, Mark McKinney scored a minor hit of his own with "The MySpace Song," a novelty tune about the popular social networking website, and when the song was featured on Howard Stern's radio show, it brought plenty of traffic to McKinney's own MySpace page, and McKinney and the Cosmic Cowboys -- Mark on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Eric on electric and slide guitar and backing vocals, Jonas Lorence on guitar and backing vocals, Ryan Coggin on bass and backing vocals, and Michael Kelton on drums -- hit the Southwest touring circuit with a vengeance. McKinney signed with the independent country and Southern rock label Super Loud Records, and with former Cosmic Cowboy Rob Dennis in the producer's chair, he cut his first solo album, Get It On. The album was released in 2007, and in 2008 a video from the album, "Bonfire," went into rotation on Country Music Television. His album Middle America would follow in 2009 with fellow Texan Kevin Fowler making a guest appearance. Two years later, Home would arrive featuring the single The River. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi