The Westies are Michael McDermotts first genuine BAND. He has always stood out as a solo artist, but in 2013 began rumored to go about a project he chose to call "The Westies". The disc was recorded in Nashville in December 2013 and was first officially released this week. The undersigned has had the plate since 2013 and needed a little refreshing round with it in the forefront of this review.
The content on West Side Stories is partly new tracks and partly songs from Michaels extensive back-catalog (with new titles). Sound is completely different than we know from McDermott. This is much more Americana and more people-inspired.Naturally complete with Michaels ethereal intense voice and strong lyrics.
Those who have followed the blog for a while knows very well this reviewer longtime and intense relationship with Michael McDermotts music and roller coaster of a life. Years of abuse and repeated attempts to throw his career leader turned almost overnight when he suddenly fell over his life great love Heather Horton. The two are married, have a daughter and both play in The Westies. And Michael is streit like never before - where everything goes right focus to music and family. My old plate pusher Tormod introduced me McDermott through his first album 620W. Surf , and I have followed him since. Both Hey La Hey and previous album Hit Me Back is reviewed here on Dust of Daylight.
After many years as a solo artist he wanted to be part of a band, and the idea of he Westies took its final form in 2013.
They call it even Ameri-cana gangsta, since the band is named after the infamous Irish-American gang "The Westies" which ravaged Hell's Kitchen and parts of Manhattan's west side from the 1960s and for many years to come. Some say that they are still active, while others say they were crushed in the 80s, having been behind countless murders and been doing what may be effected by illegalities. They collaborated with the notorious Gambino crime family, and served as muscle for these in all years.
The story of this gang saw Michael when he lived in Manhattan, and through his own Irish heritage - and his very tough life with drugs and alcohol, which coincided with very The Westies intake of said stimuli.
And when he got overall band he had dreamed about since he was a kid, so it was natural to take the name "The Westies".Not as a tribute to the violent people, but as a tribute to the solidarity which was initially and bedrock of what evolved from a fellow gang of Hell's Kitchen in the 60s.
The Westies and West Side Stories differs from Michael McDermotts other career (perhaps with the exception of Hey Hey La) , through a sound that is closer to people and americana than we are used to hearing from the edge. Where McDermotts plates often are more produced and polished, this is straightforward and to the core of music: to present texts with minimum bees.
There is one thing that McDermott is an exceptional singer, but as a songwriter he stands for me as one of the very best in the industry. The series of harrowing texts from the dark side is equally long and extensive as it is heartbreaking. He has a knack for hitting locations in the heart of the listener who is particularly vulnerable, and knows how to penetrate the exposed area with just the right words to make a uDeleting impression. Combined with a voice that exudes a life that at times has been bone hard, so stick to the wall he me every time. Lyrically is the closest I can come to compare with Mary Gauthier.
It may sound dark, sad and bleak - but it is correspondingly much light and love in McDermotts texts. He has an eternal faith in love, and says it was love that saved him from both an extremely unhealthy and dangerous life - and just under 10 years in prison for pretty ridiculous antics.
West Side Stories is packed with intense stories. I have, as I said lived with this disc in one and a half years, and like all of McDermotts discs as this in regular rotation. Duets with Heather Horton is intensely goosebumps-inducing, and the quality of the songs are smoother than we at times have been accustomed to from McDermotts hand.
In the band, he has John Pirrucello (guitar, pedal steel, mandolin), Chris Merrill (bass), Dan Ingenthron (keyboards) and Robert Dicke (drums). Besides McDermott himself (under the name Johnny Darkstar) on vocals and guitar - and Heather Horton on vocals and fiddle.
Favorite my songs on this disc are numerous, and mention must opening song "Hell's Kitchen", which could have been a outtake from Hey Hey La , and is typically McDermott. The text is the story of McDermotts life and upbringing, braided into the history of the original The Westies.
Beautiful "Bars" is an intense story about change, and changes that will be needed to find a new direction in life. McDermott writes directly and openly about his own life and times when things have been darker than most of us have experienced.
"All I remember is the feeling,
That I would not make it out of there alive.
'Cause sometimes you need the darkness,
in order two see the light "
"Rosie" - which we happily know as "Balcony on Division" tells the story of Rosie. She has not looked too good foothold in the real world and have clearly made an impression on McDermott.
From Heather Hortons debut album they have picked the wonderful "Fallen", a lovely duet about how scary intense love can be ... and followed in many ways as the "Five Leaf" and "Set ..»
It is not easy to pick out individual songs from such a good ALBUM, where lyrics like plaits into each other, and everything appears as a whole - but there are plenty costed sheaf songs that have attached themselves best through countless listeners through projections. Most people know fans of McDermott who said before, but the soundstage is completely new - and do their best to emphasize the totality of the plate.
Michael McDermott is in the studio in Nashville with among others Will Kimbrough to record their 10th studio album, and The Westies second plate is also underway during the year. There are good times for fans of Michael McDermott!