Declan McGarry CD Release Show LOUNGE: Billy Block w/Brendan McKinney, Karleen Watt & Vince Melamed

When: Tue., May 25, 7 p.m. 2010

It makes sense that McGarry likes to write simple, direct songs that favor good story lines and sincere emotion over cleverness or trends: He grew up in Winnipeg, where Neil Young cut his teeth, and dug deep into Young’s catalog when he was, well, young himself. It’s an influence McGarry doesn’t hide from — producer Nick Pellegrino, who co-wrote several of the songs on McGarry’s self-titled full-length debut, convinced the singer-songwriter to offer his take on the Young ballad “Wrecking Ball.” But he’s equally if not more influenced by a certain New Jersey troubadour, demonstrated both in McGarry’s fondness for coming-of-age sagas and car references and in his knack for radio-ready anthems. (The piano intro to “Summer Heat” in particular bears faint echoes of Springsteen’s “Backstreets.”) In McGarry’s case, though, the radio those songs are ready for could just as easily be country, as evidenced by tracks such as “Let It Go” and “Angels on the Billboards.” But the best tracks may be the quietest ones, like the mandolin- and accordion-laced “Everything” or the solo acoustic “Headlights Glow.”

Jack Silverman


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