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Michael McDermott & Jesse Terry at The Loft - 7/19Thursday, July 19 2018 6:30pm Doors / 8:30pm Start
Michael McDermott & Jesse Terry at The Loft - 7/19
at The Loft at City Winery
Day Of Tickets $18
Michael McDermott’s brand of rock n’ roll brims with the kind of well-
honed style and wisdom that can only come from a career on the road and a
pedigree in the studio. Effortlessly blending natural folk sensibility, pop hooks, and
honest rock, McDermott’s music is as much for the outcast as the congregation.
It’s an exploration of the dark corners of life’s journey and it resonates middle
class truths through the passionate filter of a kid that grew up on Chicago’s Irish
If you are a fan of Springsteen, Van Morrison, John Steinbeck, Patti Smith ...
McDermott’s inspirational rock is in your wheelhouse, waiting late night with a
guitar, spare smokes and stories of the American heart.
“McDermott’s music helped me to find a part of myself that wasn’t lost,
as I had feared, but only misplaced. That’s why we love the ones who
are really good at it, I think: because they give us back ourselves, all
dusted and shined up, and they do it with a smile...Michael McDermott
is one of the best songwriters in the world and possibly the greatest
undiscovered rock & roll talent of the last 20 years” -Stephen King
A true musical journeyman, New England-based singer/songwriter Jesse Terry has made it his mission to share his love of music fully and completely, without regard for shading his emotions or tempering his convictions. The ability to create a connection, to bare his soul and express his emotions through his songs have been the defining thread in a career that’s spawned five albums (The Runner, Empty Seat on a Plane, Stay Here With Me, and his latest pair, Stargazer and Natural) as part of a career that began in 2010.
“It’s about inclusiveness,” Jesse insists. “I love that music can bring all kinds of people together.”
He’s made that message clear on each of his albums, but never more so than of the two he recorded simultaneously in 2017. Stargazer, released this past September, was a defining record in Jesse’s career, unencumbered by the need to fit into a specific genre while emulating instead the artists and recordings that formed such an indelible impression on him as he was finding his own way early on.
The second album and latest release to emerge from those sessions, the aptly titled Natural, finds Jesse relying on a more organic approach to his music. It was, he explains, intended to be a very simple affair, merely vocals, acoustic guitar and piano, although it soon took on a life of its own. “We held tight to the concept of a very sparse and acoustic album, but after entering the studio we let the songs lead the way, and abandoned most boundaries,” he reflects.
What Jesse and producer Josh Kaler decided to do with Natural was to make an album that featured some of the female singers he most admired, among them Dar Williams, Cary Ann Hearst of Shovels & Rope, Liz Longley, Annie Clements, Erin Rae, Sarah Darling, and Kim Richey. The talent that they brought to the project helped propel the album to another realm, creating an additional layer of emotional impact.
Ultimately then, the relationship between the two singers, the male and female -- the contrast in emotion, tone and texture -- became the focus of the album. “We stayed true to the original concept of a stripped down record, but expanded on the original idea to allow for more creativity with the production and instrumentation,” Jesse recalls. “The album is still based around the power of a song, stripped down to one guitar. We felt like the best path with production was to support the vocals and the emotion of the song...and then get out of the way.”
On the strength of the material, it’s not surprising to find that three of the songs on Natural also appear on Stargazer. The most striking difference between the two comes through on “Kaleidoscope,” previously an upbeat rocker, but now transformed into a gentle lullaby featuring duelling ukuleles, upright bass and sweet harmonies. Likewise, “Mr Blue Sky,” a rare cover of a song by one of his original heroes, Jeff Lynne, takes a tender approach that brings out the song’s wistful reflection. “Noise,” a duet with Dar Williams, sounds like vintage Simon and Garfunkel, complete with its gentle harmonies and serendipitous refrains. However, no song sums up Jesse’s idea of peace and serenity better than “I Was an Island,” which finds him joined by Kim Richey. Written on Inisheer Island (one of the remote Aran Islands located off the coast of Ireland), the song conveys a clear sense of solitude, a quiet respite from the chaos and cacophony of the modern world.
Since the start, Jesse has found time to reflect and reminisce. By contrast, his early life was turbulent. “I’m only happy now because I know how difficult life can be,” he maintains. “I am so grateful, because even though I’ve travelled down some painful roads, I’ve met many more people that have had it a lot worse. I now realize that happiness is a choice, a daily choice in fact. It’s about creating your own place in the world and your own path that no one can steal or deny. Music and songwriting helped illuminate that path for me.”
Still, that path wasn’t so clear early on. Growing up, he spent time in reform schools and in shelters as a runaway. After ending up in the hospital at the age of 18 following an overdose of illicit substances, he woke up to the fact that his life would have to change. “Music didn’t completely overtake me until I started writing my own songs around age nineteen,” he recalls. Motivated by his parents’ love of music, he found a new depth of devotion and discipline. Learning to play on his mother’s guitar and laying down vocals to his father’s instrumental accompaniment at his dad’s home studio, he found his initial inspiration in the Beatles, Roy Orbison, Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson and the remarkable singer/songwriters of the ‘70s -- James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, CSNY, and Paul Simon, among them.
He pauses to consider his good fortune. “The tapestry of my life is woven through human connection, healing and unity. This is what music has allowed me to experience.”