One of the greatest aspects of what I do on this website is being sent music I would never have come across before. This just goes to show how much I and the rest of the world are missing out on. I wasn’t even expecting to be given a copy of Sean McConnells album but when it arrived, I thought, okay, let’s give it a whirl and well…I am so glad that I did!
Having penned songs for Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Buddy Miller, Rascal Flatts, Wade Bowen, Brothers Osborne, Martina McBride, the Eli Young Band, David Nail and others, I knew to trust Sean’s writing and musical direction.
From track one, I knew I was going to enjoy the whole album. When an artist is a songwriter as well as a singer, if the first track captivates you then that is usually a good sign that the rest of the album is going to follow suit.
Whilst vocally, Sean doesn’t sound like anyone in the country music industry, sonically he reminds me of an early Keith Urban before he went down the weird pop route and also a bit of David Gray and not just because he has a track called Babylon. Sean’s album is a nice blend of Country and Americana showcasing a lot of traditional country instruments such as the Banjo and Mandolin amongst many others. Sean has a lovely soulful voice which is very mesmerising to listen to.
The album is full of mellow, mid-tempo, toe tapping tracks that are all well written, well structured, well produced and are all very enjoyable. It is one of those albums you should play whilst entertaining guests for dinner, which for me, are some of my greatest memories of discovering some of my favourite artists as my dad used to play some cracking music when we had dinner parties. I love to play this in the car too, to make for an enjoyable journey as can really absorb and listen to every track that way. Nothing about the album is repetitive or irritating and there are no fillers so I doubt you will find yourself skipping any tracks.
Stand out tracks for me are Holy Days, Ghost Town, Hey Mary, One Acre Of Land and Bottom Of The Sea but…I do keep changing my mind, which is a good thing.
Holy Days is such a memorable, sing along track, I need to see this song live.
One Acre Of Land – I would say Sean’s version of a ballad and a love song. This is a beautiful melodic song with really lovely lyrics that just hit home for me. The way Sean writes about how you can have little in life but can feel like you have it all – that was at least my interpretation of the song anyway.
One acre of land, I’m the son of rambling man, and the only thing I ever hammered worth a damn, was the fender in a rock and roll band. I can’t pull no car apart, but I can fix a broken heart.
Bottom Of The Sea has a great banjo intro which is just so exciting and gratifying! It’s a dance along to track in the way of how you would dance to a country/folk type song. I can already see this live in my head and everyone singing along and the microphone being handed to the crowd to sing the chorus which is so addictive and chanting. Probably my favourite track off the album. It puts me in such a good mood.
I can imagine Sean being very enjoyable in a live setting. These songs scream live music perfection. Shows I enjoy the most are actually ones that I can sit down ( maybe I am getting old) and take in all the music and where the audience are pretty much silent with respect ( as we tend to be in the UK) and that’s how I imagine a Sean McConnell show.
If you like early Keith Urban music, Andrew Combs, David Nail, David Gray and early Tim McGraw then I think you will likely enjoy this album. There is just too much pop and bro country in the industry at the moment and it is refreshing to have these kind of artists to remind me just how amazing country music can be. There really isn’t a bad track on this album. Buy it!!!
You can purchase the album on itunes now
Listen to Sean McConnell by Sean McConnell on @AppleMusic.
Physical copies can be ordered here
Sean will also be in the UK during NOV/DEC as part of The Texas Music Takeover
“McConnell’s record has all the makings of a country hit.” – No Depression
“The self-titled, ten-song collection immerses the listener in McConnell’s honest, emotional songwriting and understated, flawless vocals…” – The Daily Country
ABOUT SEAN MCCONNELL
Fans of country music may have already heard Sean’s work; having built up an impressive resume of writing credits over the past few years, his songs have been cut by artists including Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Buddy Miller, Rascal Flatts, Wade Bowen, Brothers Osborne, Martina McBride, the Eli Young Band, David Nail and others. Sean’s songs have also been featured on the smash hit television show ‘Nashville’.
“From a very young age, I just knew that I was gonna spend my life making music,” Sean McConnell states. “I never really questioned it, so I just forged ahead and didn’t let anything stop me.”
Although his self-titled new Rounder album will serve as his introduction to many listeners, the personable young artist is actually a seasoned, distinctive songwriter and an experienced performer with a quartet of D.I.Y. indie releases to his credit. Having built a substantial grass-roots fan base through tireless touring and old-fashioned hard work, McConnell is primed for a mainstream breakthrough.
McConnell, a Massachusetts native, comes by music naturally; his musician parents were part of Boston’s vibrant folk music community. He began writing songs at age 12, after his family relocated to Georgia, and he never looked back. In addition to accolades for his songwriting, he has earned a well-deserved reputation as a dynamic live performer, whose shows offer his fans everything from intimate acoustic ballads to foot-stomping rock and roll.
Songwriting and music-making have been a part of Sean McConnell’s life for as long as he can remember. “My mom was a singer and my dad was a guitar player and songwriter,” he notes. “They’d play in coffeehouses and I’d go along and watch them perform, and seeing that lifestyle showed me that music was an option. And seeing my dad painstakingly writing songs had a huge influence on me, and gave me license to feel like I could enter into that world.”
By the age of ten, he had become proficient on guitar and was writing his first songs. “I fell in love with the instrument first,” McConnell recalls. “Learning guitar gave me a feeling of uncharted territory laid out in front of me. And as I got better on guitar, the songs started to come naturally. At around the same time, we moved from Massachusetts to Georgia, and the first song I wrote was about the feeling of leaving the familiar and feeling lost in a new place. Music gave me a focus and became an emotional outlet for me.”
Having spent much of his life honing his craft and paying his dues, Sean McConnell is eager to launch the next chapter of his career: “I kind of feel like I’ve been in a really long boot camp,” he concludes. “I’m really grateful for that, because I feel like I’ve gained enough experience to know the deal and be prepared for anything. I’m excited to see where the next part of the journey takes me.”
The video for ‘Holy Days’ is streaming now on Youtube, and ‘Sean McConnell’ will be released on CD in the UK & Europe on 30th September. Sean will be performing in London as part of the Texas Music Takeover, from Nov 28th – Dec 5th 2016.
ABOUT THE RECORD
McConnell recorded the album in his adopted hometown of Nashville at Sound Emporium B and The Compound with producers Jason Lehning (Brad Paisley, Randy Travis, Aubrie Sellers) and Ian Fitchuk (Lucie Silvas, Andrew Combs), who also contributed keyboards and drums, respectively. The album was mixed by GRAMMY award-winning engineer, Ryan Hewitt.
Truly an independent project, the recording took place prior to McConnell signing with Rounder, with the artist financing the sessions himself. “This project started,” he explains, “when I went to a cabin by myself for a week, with the intention of writing some songs. In that week, I wrote about half of the songs on the record, and I could see the thread of what this record was gonna be.”
This album demonstrates exactly why this singer-songwriter has already won such a devoted audience. Especially in places like Texas, where he has been embraced by the homegrown “Red Dirt” community of singers & songwriters. Wade Bowen says “I don’t think there’s anyone better than Sean McConnell. Talented doesn’t even come close to describing the kind of artist that he is. I’m so glad that the rest of the world is finally catching on.”
‘Sean McConnell’ is released on CD in the UK/Europe on 30th September 2016.