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Garth Michael McDermott: Press

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.
Recent Portland transplant (via NYC) McDermott takes us on his tales of woe and is able to transform them into fantastic 3-minute pop nuggets with a roots bent. I remember when Ryan Adams used to make music this good, but that was back in the 1990's. "Just Like Thunder" is an emotional heavyweight, while the lovely piano in "Up From Nothing" soften things up, if just a bit. Very well done, sir.
Tim Hinely - Dagger Magazine / In The Spotlight (Jul 1, 2006)
"Intellectually complex pop songs with simple, inviting arrangements."
CMJ New Music Report
"...melodic, song-based pop rock...its wall-of-sound arrangements and Garth McDermott's wonderfully tough vocals are this group's selling points."
Newsday
"...pop as seen thru a fun-house mirror...not quite exactly as expected and changing constantly."
Mixx Magazine
"...great songs both lyrically and musically"
Musicians' Exchange
"One of Long Island's finer pop/rock outfits. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Garth McDermott has a razor sharp ear for melody and harmony."
Long Island Voice