…sitting on my back porch with the fire lit, a Knob Creek in hand and an Alec Bradley New York (cigar) in the other hand, I begin my journey into the world of Michael McDermott’s newest album, “Hit Me Back.” Having no idea what I’m about to hear, I decide to kick my feet up and get ready for anything. Little did I know what beautiful surprises were in store for me…he poetically outlines the hurdles of his own life married with the storytelling prowess the likes of Bob Dylan, Jimmy Buffet and Van Morrison. His whiskey soaked-smokey vocals are reminiscent of Springsteen, Bon Jovi and even some of the country greats of the past decade…with a smidge of Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20. I can’t decide whether this is old school secular, Christian or cross over country…but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the way in which his songs relate to me and make me feel…the journey has only begun…
The album starts off strong with “Hit Me Back” and then pulls at your heart and soul with “Let It Go.” You can actually feel the pain through the straining of his smokey-stained vocals. I was surprised as the next song took me to the Caribbean with “The Prettiest Girl in the World,” a Van Morrison meets Jimmy Buffet composition that makes you want to reach for a Mai Tai and the REWIND button. Like I said, the journey has only begun…I chose those words carefully as the songs are all molded in a way that makes you feel like you are on a trip…a vacation…a road trip if you will.
“Dreams about Trains” made me reminisce about being a child and the dreams that go along with those memories…the simple things. The power and passion of those dreams are felt throughout this song. Just when I think I’ve been brought to a place of inner peace (mind you at this point, my Whiskey is almost gone), the songs “I know a place” starts spinning…a beautiful acoustic songs that is refreshing lyrically and soft on the ears. Dynamics in any story or song are imperative to capturing the true essence of the storytellers vision...I feel like I am right beside him as he walks through life…Quick to follow is probably the most relative song to the current music scenes’ “sound” (if you will)…”Ever After.” “Scars from Another Life” completely illuminates Michael’s journey. Although this isn’t the end of the album, it is the epitome of reflecting on where he was to where he has arrived and the rest is only icing on the cake.
If you like hear felt, soulful music that will reach in and slow you down…quiet your thoughts…and take you on a journey to a place you may have only visited…this album is for you!
I give them 4 out of 5 Fish