The anthemic, arena-filling ''Scars From Another Life'' (from his latest album Hit Me Back) paints the a picture of how far singer-songwriter Michael McDermott has come: ''I was so down... I had completely lost my way / When I hit Broadway I began to realize / That all they are are scars from another life.'' His life since becoming a recording artist-full of myriad highest highs, gutter-skimming lows, and absolute rock bottoms of the past two decades-could read like a screenplay, but with stories so ridiculously outlandish that they couldn't possibly be true. All of it-the addiction, the failed relationships, the financial dramas, the career hurdles-have left plenty of scars, but McDermott's moving on, moving up, and taking charge. He makes no excuses for his past-it has made him who he is today-but sings to everyone listening (and to himself): ''Don't run away, they're scars from another life.'' It's been quite a ride since singer/songwriter Michael McDermott unleashed his debut, 620 West Surf, but one might even go so far as to say that his 2012 release, Hit Me Back, represents the work of a new artist: for the first time in his recording career, McDermott is a father, a philanthropic entrepreneur, and has experienced the loss of an adored parent. All are major life changes which have found achingly honest expression in his songs. Hit Me Back also exudes McDermott's trademark embrace of faith and hope in the face of adversity. The lyrics are, as always, uniquely evocative: McDermott sings in poetry; his tunes are literate story-songs. On the haunting ''Ever After,'' he offers the listener palpable insight into the jarring confusion and doubt felt in the days that followed his mother's passing (in October 2011). The wryly observed title track puts a new spin on fighting a long-time nemesis, alcohol. His demon-banishing in the aforementioned ''Scars From Another Life'' is echoed in the love-is-redemption refrains of ''Let It Go.'' The exploration of temptation and bowing to its siren call is explored in the Americana-laced ''A Deal With The Devil.'' Influenced by such musical giants as Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, McDermott exhibited a talent for mature and lyrically dense songwriting that soon caught the eye-and ear-of then-talent scout Brian Koppelman (now a screenwriter, novelist, director, and producer; best known as the co-writer of ''Ocean's Thirteen'' and ''Rounders''), who immediately signed him to Giant Records. That first album, 620 West Surf, boasted a Billboard Hot 100 charting single, (''A Wall I Must Climb''). McDermott continued to write introspective, character-driven songs that won him an enduring band of appreciative followers. In the liner notes for McDermott's self-titled album, bestselling author Stephen King wrote: ''Michael McDermott is one of the best songwriters in the world and possibly the greatest undiscovered rock 'n' roll talent of the last 20 years.''
Saturday - March 23, 2013
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