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Michael McDermott (from the album St. Paul’s Boulevard on Paper Sky Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
There are certain artists that have innate ability to capture both passion and purpose through songs that ring and resonate even on first encounter. Michael McDermott has always been one of those individuals, and his riveting new album St. Paul’s Boulevard, offers yet another example of just why that is so. Sadly, he’s yet to achieve the bigger notice he so decidedly deserves, but if justice is served at long last, this will be the effort that brings him to that higher pinnacle of success. A concept album of sorts, it’s tied together by an overriding theme, that which focuses on a disparate cast of characters that inhabit a fictional street located in Any Town, USA, all of whom face their own challenges in a society that’s seemingly relegated them to the outermost margin of care and comfort.
The ideas and insights that arise as a result find common cause in a world where dysfunction and disconnect have become overriding concerns, but here again, it’s the songs themselves that bring listeners into the fray and give them reason for common cause. ‘I’m so sick of this place, where my dreams they seem to go to waste’, McDermott rails on “Sick of This Town”, a song with a resilient melody that effectively captures the frustration so many have felt during these turbulent times.
On the other hand, it’s also likely that some people will become so engaged in these instantly infectious melodies that all hints of despair and disillusionment will be of secondary concern. St. Paul’s Boulevard overflows with compelling melodies and enough hooks to outfit an entire fishing fleet. “Where the Light Gets In”, “Our Little Secret”, “The Outer Drive”, “Marlowe”, “All We Have Lost”, and “Dead By Dawn” are but a few of the more obvious examples, but, in fact there’s not a single song here that doesn’t resonate through drive and determination. Even the album’s more reflective moments, as found in “The Arsonist”, “Meet Me Halfway”, and the title track, ultimately build to an anthemic peak, a crescendo of cause and concern. ‘Everybody needs a helping hand, something to believe in, imagine my surprise to find, we’ve been locked out of Eden’ McDermott declares on the absolutely emphatic “New Year’s Day”, effectively combining his pent-up frustration with a lingering desire to pursue whatever promise and possibilities still exist on a far distant horizon.
In a very real sense, St. Paul’s Boulevard could be considered Michael McDermott’s masterpiece, but then again, that pronouncement could apply to any of his previous recordings. Hopefully this particular boulevard will lead him to a place of respect and recognition. It clearly ought to. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Michael McDermott from AMAZON
For more information and purchase options, please visit the Michael McDermott website
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