Car he learned to drive in
McCain grew up in Greenville and that's where he learned how to drive a stick shift on his mom's 1979 Toyota Corolla, which he says looked like a "big green trash can." He also learned to drive on his dad's car. "My dad had a Plymouth Scamp, which is the bastard cousin to the Dodge Dart, the Plymouth version of the Dart. It was a slant 6. I loved it because it was my first car. My dad made me buy it from him," he says, laughing "It had retreads. Back then, you used to be able to buy retread tires; they were terrible."
McCain paid his dad $500 for the Scamp, which became his high school car. "The Scamp was awesome. Man, you could fit 15 dead bodies in the truck. It had a huge trunk. The Scamp finally went the way of the dodo bird and then I saved up money and bought a 1982 Fiat X1/9."
The Fiat was a lot of fun and he drove it for a long time. "It's a tiny little convertible, a mid-engine four-cylinder Bertone. The starter went out on it and you always had to park it somewhere I could roll start it."
Serial car auction guy
After having success with his music, McCain bought his first Porsche, but he didn't stop there. He calls himself a "serial auction guy." "I flip cars today. I have half ownership of a used car lot in Greenville.
"I was always flipping cars, there were so many cars that came through my life...there was a 911, there were endless numbers of Expeditions, Suburbans. I occasionally go to the auto auction and buy a Mercedes, drive it for a little while, then sell it. I love the auction. I can't get enough of the auction. There's one outside of Greenville called Whitey's Auto Auction. It's been straight up the holler three lanes of auctioneers going wide open. It's fantastic."
It was around the time of his 1998 hit single "I'll Be" that McCain drove a Porsche 911. "I was driving a 911, wide body, it looked exactly like a Turbo but it wasn't turbo," he says. "But it was all tricked out, with aluminum racing suspension."
Favorite road trip
McCain's favorite road trip is highway 276 up from Greenville to Brevard, North Carolina. He enjoys the drive in his F-250, Porsche, and on his motorcycle. "It's got everything," he says. "It's got little stretches of small town America, then it's got super, super winding mountain roads. It's just a lot of fun."
"Mercy Bound" is McCain's latest album, which took about four years to make. "I didn't want to release an album in the middle of a down economy, it's like let's just be still for a second. I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point everyone became convinced that there had to be motion at all times and I just don't believe that," he says. "I think in a career, at times stillness is exactly the appropriate thing to. Sometimes you need to wait until you have something to say."
That 'something' includes some recent challenges. He shared that recently his wife, who is 39, dealt with breast cancer and part of his mission now is educating people to get loved ones checked early. "We've been dealing with cancer like crazy in the last few years," he says. "She's one of the very lucky ones that caught it early. I said, 'I can not say a word about this at all, or I can use this platform to remind people to go get checked,' and her exact words were, 'If one person goes and gets a mammogram and catches cancer early and saves their life, it's worth it.'"
McCain says that his wife had non-specific symptoms and was "just feeling weird" when she decided to get checked. "She was feeling a little pain, stuff women are taught to ignore all the time, and it turned out the tumor was spread out flat so it didn't feel like anything either. She got really lucky."
This all happened in recent months and McCain had to reschedule some of his gigs as a result. "I play a lot at Susan G. Komen events and it turns out it's a good thing I did," he says. "We're rolling some of the shows that we're doing into breast cancer awareness events."
McCain is playing the new songs on his new album on his current tour. The album offers his signature singer-songwriter sound. "I'm just out here doing more of what I love to do, with the people I love to do it with," he says. "There's no big great departure. I like it and people seem to like it. I'm a 41-year-old singer-songwriter doing what I do."
For upcoming tour dates, visit www.edwin.com.