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Michael McDermott to Release Two Albums on the Same Day

The companion albums will arrive on September 13.

By: Jul. 09, 2024
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Music has two personalities, a duality frequently characterized by quiet introspection and power-driven proclamation. If you were a photographer, it would be light and dark. If you were a painter, it would be black and white. For a musician, it’s acoustic and electric.

Revered Chicago-based singer-songwriter Michael McDermott reveled in his creative duality to craft a first – two full albums, one acoustic and one electric, to be released on the same day as companion pieces of work. Lighthouse on the Shore, the acoustic opus, and East Jesus, the electric collection, arrive September 13 on McDermott’s own Pauper Sky Records.

“I guess it’s always been a bit of a balancing act, my multiple personalities,” says McDermott. “One of my personalities grew up listening to early Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Odetta, traditional Irish music, and Tom Waits. The other one was raised on The Stones, The Who, Van Morrison, and U2. My songwriting varies wildly, to sometimes great effect and other times a seemingly incoherent array of songs that never find homes on my albums. This time I thought I’d lean into both, make a quiet record and a loud one.”

The quiet record, Lighthouse on the Shore, was recorded and mixed at Pauper Sky Studio in Orland Park, Illinois with a stellar group of musicians: McDermott on guitars, piano, bass, and vocals; Heather Lynne Horton on fiddle and vocals; Matt Thompson on stand-up and electric bass; Will Kimbrough on guitars, banjo, and mandola; John Deaderick on piano, keyboards, organ, and Omnichord; and Katie Burns on cello. Lighthouse was produced and mixed by McDermott with additional production by Deaderick.  

In 10 self-penned songs, McDermott explores deep and resonant emotions with gentle melancholy and open-hearted honesty. Here are four highlights:

  • “Bradbury Daydream” – A thoughtful, poignant ode to life-affirming love even as we contemplate the end of our mortal days.
  • “I Am Not My Father” – We are all our parents’ children, whether we like it or not. Coming to grips with that truth is at the core of this mid-tempo ballad.
  • “Gonna Rise Up” – A rave-up about survival and sobriety. McDermott recharges his commitment to not let past demons take control again.
  • “Lighthouse on the Shore” – The album’s gorgeous centerpiece, a picturesque, poetic confession to a love that provides the beacon for life’s direction.

The loud one, East Jesus, was recorded and mixed at Transient Sound in Chicago and Pauper Sky Studio in Orland Park, Illinois with these great musicians: McDermott on guitars, piano, and vocals; Heather Lynne Horton on fiddle and vocals; Grant Tye on  guitars; Matt Thompson on bass; Steven Gillis on drums; Will Kimbrough on guitars and banjo; John Deaderick on keyboards and organ; and Gerald Dowd on additional drum work. East Jesus was produced and mixed by McDermott and Gillis.

These 10 songs, all written by McDermott, emerged from a decade anniversary test of sobriety where he realized that all recovering addicts and alcoholics keep sharpening their lifesaving weapons.  Here are four standouts:

  • “Berlin At Night” – An anthem-like rocker that speaks directly to the war that rages inside and how love is the fortress that shields us from harm.
  • “East Jesus” – Never let your guard down because temptation is always lurking in the wings waiting to invade. McDermott sings with the conviction of a warrior.
  • “Quicksand” – Rhythmic rocker with a groove-filled chant, this song explores the everyday forces trying to pull us down as we try to rise above.
  • “Head Full of Rain” – A breezy, melodic paean to hope that reminds us to think sunshine even though the psyche feels like a raging storm. 

Reflecting on his unprecedented accomplishment, two full-length albums, Lighthouse on the Shore and East Jesus released as companion pieces on the same day, McDermott says: “There are always leftovers at my table, but this creative expansion allowed for a wider variety of songs to find a place, and hopefully to great effect.”

McDermott begins a series of concert performances in early September to promote Lighthouse on the Shore and East Jesus, as well as 2022’s powerful St. Paul’s Boulevard and a recording history that spans more than 30 years.

Catch up with Michael McDermott by checking out his website, subscribing to his YouTube channel, and following him on Facebook and Instagram


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