Wednesday, July 17, 2013

First Listen: Marc Carroll – “Muskingum River”

Marc Carroll is an LA based songwriter by way of Dublin. I gave a first listen to the track “Muskingum River” off of his record ‘Stone Beads and Silver’. He it goes…

Woah, hey Bob Dylan. First reaction. I mean there are a lot of Dylan vocal enthusiasts out there and most of the time I have a hard time believing them when they sing. Honestly, for the first verse or so of the track, I am kind of in that mind set. But then something changes…
The tune starts out with a slow finger pick, very nice playing, and Marc Carroll’s (again) very Dylan-esque gravelly tone soon joins in the delicate dance. After the first verse there is a break that launches in with a mix of banjo, percussion, steel and guitars. A gentle cyclone of sound around Carroll’s voice emerges and it really succeeds as a composition. The song truly becomes its own thing and you are just along for the ride, so enjoy it. It’s not particularly in an uptempo rhythm, but the juxtaposition against the first portion of the song really stands out. The tune then settles back into itself, almost a calm before and after the storm and a great resolution…but wait, it picks up again and then fades out. A really great ride of a track. Emotion driven, skillfully arranged, and
No longer chained to the ring on her finger” is a line that really stands out to me. So often the whole “ball and chain” term is used in a love/hate relationship, but this is a really simple but effective alteration of that. It’s one of those lines that is so simple that someone else should have thought of it first. But Marc has effortless slipped it in there, at a point in the song where it very well could be swallowed up if the words were different, and somehow it still manages to really resonate with me. That’s some songwriter jedi work right there.

I am very happy I gave this tune a chance and have listened to it about 10 times since the first go round. You should probably do the same.
Check Marc Carroll out:

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