‘Six On The Out’ from The Westies - songs with a visceral rawness(April 18, 2016)
When we first reviewed the work of Chicago-based duo Michael McDermott and Heather Horton better known as The Westies, we described it as: “Scruff of the neck, hard living, gutsy folk Americana” ... to my mind their latest album ‘Six On The Out’ does nothing to change that. Only this time, the styles move and flex with more fluidity across the album, the songwriting is more accomplished, the lyrics hit harder and the music better than ever.
When you have a voice like McDermott, you infuse your songs with a visceral rawness that eats away until listeners begin to live the songs. Yes, ‘Six On The Out’ is that fundamental, there’s nothing included that doesn’t need to be there and nothing you want to take away. The result is a hard-breathing beast as vital as could be, from the painful despair of ‘If I Had A Gun’ and stark awareness with ‘Pauper’s Sky’ through the realised sadness of lost days in ‘The Gang’s All Here’ and a cry of hope with ‘Everything Is All I Want For You’ to the aching loss of ‘Once Upon A Time’ these songs touch that place where dark and light fight for the soul.
On ‘’Six On The Out’ The Westies are Michael McDermott (acoustic guitar, vocals) Heather Horton violin, vocals) with Ian Fitchuk (drums, percussion, keys) Lex Price (upright and electric bass, bouzouki, mandolin, acoustic guitar) and Will Kimbrough (electric, washboard and acoustic guitars) plus John Pirruccello (electric guitar) and John Mock (penny whistle). Website: www.westiesmusic.com
Reviewer: Tom Franks