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Reviews: Garth Michael McDermott ~ Highways and Ghosts|
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2006 @ 07:30:36 UTC
Artist: Garth Michael McDermott
CD: Highways and Ghosts
Home: New York City
Style: Pop Rock
Quote: "McDermott leads us on an interesting self-discovery tour using his own emotional milestones as guideposts."
By Kenny Hart
Every once in a while, an artist comes along and manages to get his fingers on the harp strings of your soul, striking a chord that echoes through every fiber of your being. Garth Michael McDermott is one of those artists. Oddly, it's hard to pinpoint his sound. While he sounds a bit like Rufus Wainwright crossed with Julian Lennon, there is a quality to his music that is unique; it's something you feel more than hear. From the haunting strains of "Intro" which asks the eternal question "Ever wonder why sometimes?" to the mysterious "Miniature Mistakes" which asserts " ... aren't they miniature mistakes when you can shake the marks they make?", McDermott leads us on an interesting self-discovery tour using his own emotional milestones as guideposts.
The music isn't innovative, just clean, soft pop rock with solid vocals and harmonies, straight-ahead rhythm tracks and no frills; it's the way McDermott wears his heart on his sleeve that hooks you. It's not surprising that his one-page characterizes his lyrics as " ... tales of emotional struggles and internal conflicts ... laced with a sense of optimism." These songs are more vignettes of feelings rather than messages, and it's this emotional undercurrent that runs through every cut. It's interesting the way this man's struggles are posed as questions. As you listen, you find yourself pondering over them:
"Kicking Up The Dirt" asks "So, then who's going to falter first?"
"Just Like Thunder" asks "Is every moment you rely on ... just a part of a piece of a thought that's escaping?"
"Miniature Mistakes" asks "Coincidence or accident?"
Without question, the best cut is "Up From Nothing" (though the title really should be "Have Me Your Way" -- why is it that some pop titles are vague and often not the real hook? But, hey, that's another question to ponder ... ). Bleeding emotion and a deep-cutting killer lyric makes this one my pick hit:
3 years in amazement of wonderful lies
As the heart on your sleeve bleeds dry
When I dented your armor, did it feel like this?
Like roaring open canyons that started up from nothing ...
Come to my place, color my world
Have me your way ...
But the most profound thing McDermott says, something everyone can identify with, is contained in these lines from "Records To Your Rivals":
If you're wounded, you haven't even looked yet
If you're not wounded, you haven't even lived yet ...
If these ten tracks, which include an acoustic finale of "Kicking Up The Dirt," don't move you, you're already dead.
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