Pauper Sky Records
A Rare Songwriting Talent Finally Comes to Fruition After 25 Years.
Although Michael McDermott has released 9 (NINE!) solo albums in the last 25 years, I only became aware of him late earlier this year when I received Six on the Out by his alter-ego The Westies https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/the-westies-six-on-the-out/ subsequently being smitten by McDermott’s distinctive drawl and the amazing set of songs that appealed to me on every level.
So; this album excited me as soon as I opened the padded envelope.
As I do; I listened to the album 3 or 4 times before I read the accompanying bio; and when I did I was truly taken aback. Why? Because I thought that this was a ‘covers album;’ not that I actually recognised anything; although I thought I did; but that’s the ‘magic’ here, each song really does sound familiar straight from the off. A sign of a great songwriter methinks.
The title track Willow Springs opens the album; and the way McDermott enunciates and the poetic lyrics just had to be a rare Dylan song; that the singer was being clever including….but no; this song, just like everything else comes from his very own pen; and I have to say that the Willow Springs track is worthy of His Bobness in his Blood on the Tracks days.
Just like the song of the same name, this album is a lot more ‘Folk Singer’ than The Westies; and I love the way McDermott carves out scenarios with his wordplay in the maudlin Soldiers of the Same War and later the beautifully brittle Shadow in The Window.
If we jump back to my original thought that this was a covers album; I defy you to listen to Getaway Car and the more ‘rockier’ Let a Little Light In; and not presume they aren’t out-takes from Bruce’s Darkness at the Edge of Town sessions. OK, McDermott may be wearing his influences on his sleeve; but he can write a ‘Springsteen Song’ better than the man himself does these days; if these two are anything to go by!
Favourite song? Not easy; as Getaway Car caught my attention the first time I heard it; but the song that closes the disc, the haunting and atmospheric What Dreams May Come has been a grower and now has me mouthing the words every time I hear it.
It appears from the bio that Michael McDermott has had an ‘interesting life;’ now two and a half years sober; happily married with a daughter but it’s his way with words; both on paper and when he sings that make him stand out from an over crowded market place like a bright red poppy in a field of gold.
Released UK – July 22nd 2016
Released US – June 17th 2016