MICHAEL McDERMOTT Orphans
Pauper Sky Records [Release date 12.04.19]
In Orphans, a set of songs that while not making earlier records refused to be left to collect dust, Michael McDermott has come up with perhaps his best album yet – and one that should appeal, in particular, to mainstream American white collar audiences.
In what’s becoming a recurring theme in McDermott’s work, he intentionally, or otherwise, continues to reference the song construction and vocal phrasing of the The Boss.
The opener, ‘Tell Tale Heart’ is like a song that Springsteen and Petty never wrote/ performed together, and elsewhere there are subtle flavours of Streets Of Philadelphia (‘The Last Thing I Ever Do’), and Dancing In The Dark (‘The Wrong Side Of Town’).
Those with a more encyclopaedic knowledge of Springsteen’s work would no doubt spot more, with ‘Givin’ Up The Ghost’ and ‘Black Tree, Blue Sky’ in particular sounding like ‘lost’ Springsteen classics.
But this should be seen as a compliment and not a criticism – it’s a long time since Springsteen, or McDermott for that matter, has come up with a set as accessible as this. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
Michael McDermott plays dates in Ireland and UK, early May 2019.
DANNY SCHMIDT Standard Deviation
Live Once Records [Release date 29.03.19]
Singer songwriter Dany Schmidt is a throwback to the late sixties/early seventies generation of acoustic guitar toting troubadours. It’s an art form almost forgotten in the current swell of popularity in all things ‘Americana’.
Named in the Chicago Tribune’s 50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years, the Austin, Texas based singer songwriter has amassed something of a cult following since his self-released debut Parables & Primes (2005), drawing comparisons with Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt, and with a number of his subsequent eight releases charting at # 1 on folk radio charts.
A haunting and reflective release, with Schmidt’s story telling embroidered with some excellent supporting harmony vocals (including from wife Carrie Elkin), and with strings and steel guitars giving the set an almost ethereal ‘feel’.
Beautifully constructed, and one for quiet contemplation by those who like their singer/ songwriter served with a healthy dose of melancholy, a la Ray LaMontagne. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
Danny Schmidt is on tour in Europe, April-May 2019.
LOUISE LEMON A Broken Heart is an Open Heart
Icons Creating Evil Art Records [Release date 15.03.19]
This is Louise Lemon’s second album and it features regular collaborator Randall Dunn who produced and mixed the album. The PR blurb mentions death gospel as one of the musical genres the album covers, can’t say I have ever heard of that one before! However, Louise Lemon’s vocals have an alluring, haunting appeal that does at times come across as a gothic Adele on ‘Montana’, which also features some groove filled organ playing. Elsewhere there is a strong 60′s psychedelic feel to ‘Sunlight’. Black Sabbath and early Pink Floyd waft through the instrumental ‘Susceptible Soul’.
Louise Lemon certainly has a powerful vocal that grabs your attention, gothic psychedelic pop is perhaps the best musical description. Better still go have a listen over on her Bandcamp page and immerse yourself in the music. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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