Matt McGinn – The End of the Common Man
Self Released – 5 March 2018
Not to be confused with the late Scottish folkie and poet of the same name, this Matt McGinn is a Belfast-based big-voiced singer-songwriter who brings together blues, folk, alt-country and soul under a blue-collar umbrella.
The End of the Common Man, his third studio album, opens a capella style with the title track before gutsy acoustic blues guitar, horns and a walking beat set in, carrying along a lyric attacking corporate greed and those who suffer as a result before taking the pace up for The Right Name, a roll along rocker reminiscent of Bob Seger’s Night Moves given a Van Morrison sheen.
Somewhere To Run To is more introspective, the initial acoustic guitars setting blossoming into a brass, strings and organ caressed Celtic soul groove, a mood mirrored on the subsequent Marianne, a song about a dead man walking forced into crime to protect his family, urging his wife to “find a better man”, the downbeat lyric complemented by McGinn’s hushed delivery, aching pedal steel, strings and Caroline Eyck on theremin.
Driven by slide and southern soul organ and punctuated by brass, The Bells of the Angelus is a bluesier, more uptempo affair, the Van Morrison echoes again resonating, its hints of gospel more pronounced on the fast-paced heads down urgency of Out Sinner with its throaty electric guitar and organ solo.
Riding a tribal bass drum thump and fingerpicked acoustic with harmonica shades and bursts of electric blues squall, the verses sung in the voice of the protagonist, Medicine Joe casts its eye on Native American injustices. The political streak again surfaces on the thumping, lumbering clump and dirty blues riff of Trump, a vitriolic number that casts the titular White House incumbent as a pachyderm, “as thick as an elephant’s hide”, and playfully and pointedly references Nelly the Elephant in its chorus.
In stark contrast, The Overlanders is one of the most restrained numbers, a reflective gentle rippling rhythmic strum with muted horns and pedal steel, the album closing with End of Days, a rueful apocalyptic contemplation of information overload with a change is coming message carried on sweeping strings and horns finally ending with a cacophony of sampled news broadcasts and voices. McGinn’s first release, Crossroads Sessions, was a live EP with Ben Glover. His latest provides ample argument for him warranting the same sort of acclaim afforded his erstwhile collaborator. The End of the Common Man is his strongest and most confident step forward to date.
Order The End of the Common Man: http://mattmcginnmusic.com/shop
Upcoming Live Dates
MAY 18 FRI – Anthony Toner, Matt McGinn & John McCullough in Concert, Newry, Northern Ireland
JUN 7 THU – The Spirit Store, Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland
JUN 8 FRI – The Ardhowen, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
JUN 9 SAT – Narrow Water Castle, Newry, Northern Ireland