MICHAEL McDERMOTT – St. Paul’s Boulevard (2022)

MICHAEL McDERMOTT - St. Paul's Boulevard (2022) full

Music makes a deep connection when it strikes that delicate nerve separating the personal from the universal. If the listener can use the songs as mirrors, then the musician has succeeded in communicating their art. Chicago-based singer-songwriter MICHAEL McDERMOTT has spent decades riding that artistic balance, and he does it again with fresh potency on ”St. Paul’s Boulevard”, requested here by one of you.
McDermott isn’t a song & dance man, he’s a classic rocker that does the music he wants. This is American rock, with nodes to Bruce Springsteen to Tom Petty. Add John Hiatt to the list.
However, on ”St. Paul’s Boulevard” McDermott and his band sound is more muscular than the aforementioned acts, and while there’s ballads an acoustic numbers, the ‘nerve’ is there.

Recorded from August 2021 to February 2022 at Transient Sound and Pauper Sky Studios in Chicago, ”St. Paul’s Boulevard” is the sonic vision of McDermott and co-producer Steven Gillis. Gillis is also on drums, playing with fellow musicians in the band Matt Thompson on acoustic and electric bass; Grant Tye on guitars; McDermott’s wife Heather Lynne Horton on violin and vocals; and Vijay Tellis-Nayak on piano and organ. Additional musicians on ‘St. Paul’s Boulevard’ include the legenday David Grissom (John Mellencamp, Allman Brothers) on guitars.

McDermott, who also played guitars and piano on his batch of personal songs, is at his most passionate on choice cuts: “Our Little Secret” is a driving rocker that plays like the soundtrack for restless days and lust-filled nights. “Sick of This Town,” with its chugging folk bottom beat, is a cathartic ode to busting out of the neighborhood that cages us in.
“Marlowe” pays tribute to Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe character in an anthemic heartland rocker. And “New Year’s Day” is one of those brooding tunes that seeps under the skin and rattles the senses. Then “All That We Have Lost,” has Bruce Springsteen weight, and sound really good.

“Everyone has their own St. Paul’s Boulevard, the place where we left pieces of our hearts, our innocence, where we suffered heartbreak, came to learn about shame, where we struggled to find our place in this world,” says McDermott.
“It’s a place where we struggled to nurture love and light in a darkened world. It’s where some of us were permanently arrested in our development and our social and emotional intelligence.”

Michael McDermott knows a thing or two about heartbreak and arrested development. Back in the early ‘90s, McDermott was the new toast of the major label recording industry with his debut album, 620 W. Surf. But in typical chew-them-up and spit-them-out style, McDermott had seemingly been tossed in the never-been bin by the end of that decade.
He persevered, though, and built a career fortified by more than a dozen studio albums and critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, The New York Times, CNN, and The Washington Post, to name a few. Even Stephen King, the master of the best-selling horror novel genre, called McDermott “possibly the greatest undiscovered rock and roll talent of the last 20 years.”

This is good, organic, deep-in-America rock, classic rock, roots-rock, very well written and performed. No one’s going to say it doesn’t rock enough, or his ballads are syrupy. It’s solid timeless music all over.
Highly Recommended


01 – Intro – Anam Cara
02 – Where the Light Gets In
03 – Our Little Secret
04 – Sick of This Town
05 – The Arsonist
06 – New Year’s Day
07 – Meet Me Halfway
08 – The Outer Drive
09 – Marlowe
10 – All That We Have Lost
11 – Dead by Dawn
12 – St. Paul’s Boulevard
13 – Pack the Car
14 – Peace, Love and Brilliant Colors
15 – Paris

Michael McDermott – vocals, guitar, keys
Steven Gillis – drums
Matt Thompson – acoustic and electric bass
Grant Tye – guitars
Heather Lynne Horton – violin and vocals
Vijay Tellis-Nayak – piano and organ
Will Kimbrough – guitars, mandolin
John Deaderick – keyboards
Danny Mitchell – piano
David Grissom – guitars


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