Direct Current - Currents: The Westies - West Side Stories

Over the intense highs and lows of a long-running musical career, veteran Chicago rock n' roll troubadour Michael McDermott has pretty much seen -- and done -- it all. He's seen a promising career trajectory as a singer/songwriter with a taste for the sidewalk tales and rough and tumble blues, folk and soul of artists from Van Morrison to early Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen. McDermott has also been sidetracked with his fair share of personal issues with drugs and the law, but fortunately he's been on something of a comeback lately with a solid 2012 album Hit Me Back and now, joined by his wife Heather Horton on vocals and fiddle, with his new band The Westies.

With a sound more bruised than bruising, The Westies' fine new album West Side Stories (January 20) adds a more Americana and folk feel -- gritty but graceful -- to McDermott's razor sharp songs. "All I ever wanted to do was write songs and tell stories, like my grandparents and parents did from a long Irish lineage," he says. "With that lineage came a proclivity for drink, for mayhem, and a wee bit of crime. I write what I know and what I know, is much of the time, ugly.”  Click through to stream DC fave "Fallen" and watch videos for "Say It" and "Hell's Kitchen." More songs at Soundcloud.