Michael McDermott- Hey La Hey

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Friday, July 24, 2009

Michael McDermott may have never become a household name like many of the singer/songwriters that debuted around the same time as him in the early 90’s but he never let that discourage him and instead continued to release material on a fairly regular basis. McDermott’s music combines elements of Americana and folk rock, and his latest release Hey La Hey continues to showcase that he has a pretty good handle on what made other artists succeed in this genre. And though he is sure to be compared to both Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, there are quite a few times where his material is on par with both of these musicians and that says a lot.

Hey La Hey has a lot of different elements going on in every song but despite this many of them are used subtly and the emphasis is often placed on the guitar work. At its core, this material is driven by laid back drum work and acoustic guitar but when listeners pay attention they will notice that there is also an emphasis on piano and keyboard work at times which gives these tracks quite a bit of atmosphere. What also makes Michael McDermott’s latest release stand out is the fact that each song heads in a slightly different direction, as one may be more country influenced while another has more of a pop rock vibe to it. He may release material fairly often, but it is clear that when McDermott does he always ensures that it is the strongest possible as the songs on this release are sure to get stuck in your head after only a few listens.

As I mentioned before, Michael McDermott is likely going to generate some Bob Dylan/Bruce Springsteen comparisons and this is because his singing style/pitch sounds similar to both of these musicians at times. It is also worth mentioning that McDermott gives up the lead vocal spot on the song ”Hard to Break” and lets singer Kate York take the reigns while providing some backup support, as she does a wonderful job of making this song come alive. But aside from this track, everything else is left to McDermott and he is more than capable of giving these songs plenty of energy and melody. He also proves to be quite the storyteller as well and gives listeners plenty of memorable lines, ensuring that Hey La Hey will be a disc that many return to.

After hearing Hey La Hey, I’m a little surprised that Michael McDermott hasn’t gotten more exposure and that I was unaware of him before. His material is catchy and atmospheric, and also more importantly it feels genuine and real which is a quality that is getting harder and harder to find with this generation of singer/songwriters. If you like Dylan, Springsteen or any of the other Americana/folk rock artists out there definitely consider adding Michael McDermott to your repertoire as he has what it takes to compete with the best of them.


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