Press for 'Surrounding Colors'
Americana Music Association
'Surrounding Colors' spent over 6 months on the Americana Radio Chart starting Jan. 25th, 2017.
IndieWorld Country Record Report
'The Place Where I Belong' off of McDonough's latest release 'Surrounding Colors' entered the IndieWorld Country Record Report at number 40 March 1st, 2017, and rose to number 1 on June 16, 2017.
The music is interesting and varied, but it's really when you tune into the lyrics that the whole album takes on a whole new depth. The songs each have grave and serious subject matter(for example #1 is about the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and LGBT rights), and John has some serious historical knowledge and understanding conveyed in a catchy, upbeat, sometimes pop-like roots rock way. The CD itself is also visually stimulating, a burst and swirl of color leaps from the packet, a reminder to listen to the colors that surround us.
With the many waves of Americana artists in the world today, it is refreshing when one stands out. I think there are two reasons here, at least to these tired ears. McDonough writes good songs. They are catchy and heartfelt. The second reason is the overall energy that keeps many of these songs rocking as opposed to sliding into laid-back country cliches. He can keep it acoustic and cut the pace back when warranted, which adds a nice variety to this album. Good solid sophomore effort here and I hope to hear more from Austin's John McDonough.
Singer/songwriter John McDonough comes out of Austin, Texas, has already released 6 albums, and 'Surrounding Colors' is his latest album. He sounds very impressive actually, with somehow an own identity in his voice, while the music is very strong, catchy, melodic pop/rock. It definitely rocks and even has some AOR influences(Tonight's The Night and Save A Life), although the best comparison would be Ed Kowalczyk. It sounds fresh, very clean, and melodic and as already mentioned, it even rocks a bit, so this ain't the standard singer/songwriter album. Despite influences from James Blunt and Damien Rice, John goes for a more traditional, rocking approach, which works very well. Without a doubt, this is a recommended album to the fans of light, melodic, pop/rock. (Points: 8.2 out of 10)
Residing in Austin, Texas, John McDonough is an atypical singer for those latitudes, more tied to a song inspired by folk narration, but assumes the colors of an 'east coast,' roots-rock sound along the lines of Willie Nile.
After the good results of 'Dreams and Imagination' published in 2015, John McDonough has put together one of his most inspired and articulated discs, tying together a tasteful melodic sound with meaningful and important stories that tell of human rights and inclusion, dreams and aspirations, values in diversity(religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs)and tributes to personalities who have influenced the artistic growth.
The proud and strong opening 'Tonights The Night' speaks of the Stonewall Riots in June 1969, and the rights of the LGBT community. "Save A Life" and "Nowhere Else To Run" take their cue from John's passion for history, making a parallel with ordinary, contemporary life. The figure of John Denver and his passion for environmental struggles drives "The Place Where I Belong," which more than others is alive with a country and folk component.
The other songs oscillate between rock and singer/songwriter. "I Need To Lay With You Tonight" has a rock sound with electric guitars by Kevin Butler and keyboards by Cole Gramling, while the excellent "I Think I'll Go Back To Texas" with cello by Steve Bernal is a ballad of great evocative power. The valuable "All The Gold" and "Give Me One More Day To Say Goodbye" confirm a vigorous and and sometimes divergent voice.
The Long Journey
The Long Journey
In the home of Austin, Texas, where he worked as a psychotherapist, McDonough has been building respectable support as a singer-songwriter in the local restaurants and clubs. McDonough worked with guitarist and co-producer Kevin Butler and pianist Cole Gramling on his previous release 'Dreams and Imagination,' and this collaboration has evolved on 'Surrounding Colors,' resulting in a smooth instrumented whole. "Tonight's The Night" is an organ and guitar driven rocker about the summer riots of 1969 after the violent police raid on the gay bar Stonewall Inn. With reverberating guitar on "Save A Life," McDonough tells the story of Jewish pilots dealing with persistent anti-Semitism in the aftermath of the second world war. "I Think I'll Go Back To Texas" impresses with an uplifting acoustic accompaniment beautifully interspersed with the mournful cello by Steve Bernal. "The Place Where I Belong" is about John Denver and has an accessible country rock feel. With every song a less obvious topic pops up on this CD by the currently too little-known singer-songwriter.
Written In Music
Written In Music
Austin, Texas is home to this singer-songwriter who releases his second collection of songs in the last 2 years. 'Dreams and Imagination' was reviewed here previously and this time out the same studio band has remained, with the players delivering on all fronts. The 10 songs featured all display a confidence in the delivery and writing as we are given a strong mix of rock ballads and up tempo workouts. He is a fine guitar player and the piano and keyboards of Cole Gramling add real color to the arrangements. Co-produced by McDonough and Kevin Butler(drums and electric guitar) the drive of the opening songs "Tonights The Night," "Save A Life," and "Open My Arms And Breathe," lead into the more reflective "Nowhere Else To Run." "The Place Where I Belong" is a country influenced groove that sits well with the easy tempo of "All The Gold." Another solid project brought to fruition by this interesting artist who is quietly involved in a D.I.Y. career that has to be applauded.
Surrounding Colors is an album of powerful Americana shot through with historical threads.
R2 Rock' N' Reel
With three records in six years, Austin, Texas singer-songwriter John McDonough has put some regularity in the release frequency of his albums and his songs. As a former psychotherapist, he obviously has the ability to look in the souls of people and himself, to evaluate situations and moods, and to translate all this into modern folk and pop songs that now appear on his latest album 'Surrounding Colors.'