Press for 38 Degrees and Raining:

Chuck’s ‘Here’s the Thing About America’ resonates with the best songs in the great tradition of social conscience and racial healing. And he has the rich voice and musical chops to deliver it with grace.’

– Rosanne Cash

 

  Chuck McDermott has crafted a wide variety of music in his career, but he reaches a whole other level with this nobly ambitious effort. It was conceived during the pandemic and often feels like a soothing hymn to rise above it. It's a plea for wisdom, tolerance and endurance in original songs such as the haunting "38 Degrees and Raining" and the softly ambient "On a Night Like This," together with a gospel-soul cover of "We Will Walk Through the Streets of the City," which suggest a spiritual awakening. He is backed by the best of the Boston roots scene, notably guitarist Duke Levine and former Robert Plant drummer Marco Govino, who also produces these sessions. Another plus is the galvanizing inspiration added at times by the Nashville gospel quartet, the McCrary Sisters. Chuck is exploring some new genres and distilling them with a quiet, contagious confidence

    – Steve Morse

Former Staff Music Critic, Boston Globe 28 years

Rock History Teacher, Berklee College of Music

 

 

 "Chuck"s song "Here's The Thing About America" is a beautiful, powerful song for our times. It's a moving tune, especially when reinforced by his wife's amazing video. I hope we all get to hear more from this thoughtful songwriter."

– Buddy Miller

 

 

Chuck McDermott has crafted a single, “Here’s The Thing About America”, that looks at his homeland with an eye to clarity rather than rose-tinted celebration. There’s no nostalgia in this appraisal – rather a looking to the future.

– Americana UK

 

 

Having extensive careers in both music and politics, it was natural for McDermott to entwine both of his backgrounds in his new EP, given the events of the past year. The video and song, “We Will Walk Through The Streets Of The City”,  reflect not only the resilience and fortitude of the human spirit, but also the hope that things will change for the better. This is a powerful song written by a powerful visionary musician.

 

– Americana Highways

 

 

38 Degrees and Raining, the latest musical missive from the pen of American original Chuck McDermott, is a haunting concept album about the human and natural world's Biblical shitstorm we’ve collectively endured for lo these too many years. McDermott creates a singular hard country-funk with elements of gospel and ragtime — this is red and white blues-rock. The first half of the collection depicts flooding and despair in minor keys and then rises in hopeful, empathic major keys, offering inspirational hope and resolve. Throughout is his exquisite and mighty voice. (I’m jealous, ya bastid.)    

 

— Michael Simmons

Recording Artist, Musician, Music Journalist - MOJO, Huffington Post

 

 

Releasing at a vulnerable time in American history, the video “Here’s The Thing About America” presents visuals of Americans from all walks of life, in their daily lives and challenges, illustrating McDermott’s deep contemplation of the state of his country.

– American Blues Scene

 

 

There is a saying that “in contradiction and paradox, you can find the truth.” Boston-based Americana/Country artist Chuck McDermott knows this well and was inspired to write a song around this idea. Having spent a better part of five decades splitting his time between making music and fighting for just causes in the political world, McDermott has been around the block enough to know the world is full of contradictions. He used that knowledge to create his latest single, “You Always Do That To Me – Sometimes,” and an accompanying video, which we are pleased to premiere on Rock N Load Magazine today.

The track is the third single from McDermott’s upcoming 7-track EP, 38 Degrees and Raining, out on March 26, 2021.

In the song, McDermott sings over a blues guitar riff, “Old things seem new / Lies now seem true / Mud fills my shoes / Black turns to Blue.” In the video, Chuck and his bandmates groove along in a heavy walking tempo, really feeling that mud. The two electric guitars and slide guitar provide the syncopated groove lines, while the McCrary Sisters add their soul flavoured vocals to the mix. The combination makes the track enticing enough to put on repeat a few times.

McDermott shares how he came up with the song, saying “I was attracted to the phrase ‘you always do that to me – sometimes’ because of the hint of humour inherent in the contradiction of something ‘always’ being done sometimes.’ That contradiction embodies a theme which can be summarized as ‘there’s light inside the dark and dark inside the light.’ So when I joined that lyric to a guitar groove I’d been working on, a marriage was made as it always does – sometimes.”

– Rock n’ Load Magazine

 

 

Veteran Americana/Country guitarist, singer and songwriter, Chuck McDermott announces his new video for his version of “We Will Walk Through the Streets of the City.” The song is the second single from McDermott’s upcoming EP, 38 Degrees and Raining, set to release on March 26th. Produced by Anne Lyon McDermott (the artist’s wife), the video premiered on Americana Highways who called McDermott’s rendition “a powerful song written by a powerful visionary musician, and played by another one, with musical grooves that echo in the visual setting.”

The only non-original song on the EP, “We Will Walk” was written by Garfield Haywood, an African-American pastor and songwriter in the early 1900s. The song grew to be known as an anthem of the civil rights movement, both in gospel settings and as an instrumental in the vernacular of many New Orleans style jazz/brass bands. In both settings, the song is performed in an upbeat tempo with the melody bearing a near perfect resemblance to the cowboy song, “Red River Valley.”

Having worked in politics for over 30 years, McDermott had worked extensively on legislation that eventually led to “The Environmental Justice Act of 1992,” sponsored in the House of Representatives by Congressman John Lewis and in the Senate by then-Senator Al Gore. The attempts to turn the bill into law has been a winding road that continues to this day.

 

“It’s gratifying to see the Biden Administration bring this issue once again to the forefront,” says McDermott. “For me, this experience was an in-depth look at just one of the many challenges of being black, brown or poor. The inequity still stares us in the face.”

– GigSoup Music

Press for Gin & Rosewater:

Chuck McDermott's new album reflects a mature, open-hearted comeback by one of the more fascinating, under-the-radar singers of his generation. Chuck cut his teeth in the country-rock field but left music for a real job for many years. He has since enjoyed a creative rebirth. He has enlarged his focus to a sophisticated cross between honest singer-songwriter originals ("Gin & Rosewater" was inspired by his future wife), Steve Earle-style passion ("Red Betty"), funky Little Feat-like excursions, and a stunningly reworked cover of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" that is like hearing the song for the first time. But the most powerful moment comes on "Hold Back the Water," a moodily atmospheric, very modern-sounding track about the ravaging of the planet. Chuck uses a great cast of musicians throughout and this album is a welcome breath of fresh air for listeners who crave lasting quality above fickle trends.

– Steve Morse

Former Staff Music Critic, Boston Globe - 28 years

Rock History Teacher, Berklee College of Music

What a refreshing work! A true old-school musician. Seriously. Check this out. Songs. By a person that sings with character.

A pleasure to have made a contribution.

– Stephen Stills 

 

 

From the opening track of Chuck’s new album “Gin & Rosewater” you know there’s some grit and vinegar in this guys’ showcase. You know he’s the real deal as well. Nothing in the material is standard, clichéd or typical of any country genre. It tells stories, he ties them up in in a countrified-folky manner… and the tales unwind in your ears to be savored.

It seems he can do it all – balanced, diversified, and assured...

– John Apice

No Depression

Read The Full Reivew on No Depression >>

The legendary Chuck McDermott continues to deliver the same potent top-shelf American music he conjured with Wheatstraw and The Chuck McDermott Band, and later as Americana elder John Stewart’s closest conspirator. McDermott’s soaring Irish-via-Iowa tenor and 21st Century tales of red, white and blue glory, romance and woe are filtered through his rock-the-honky-tonks sonic signature. If there’s a more powerful evocation of current human challenges than his “Hold Back The Water,” I haven’t heard it. McDermott doesn’t simply cry wolf, his pitched-to-perfection artistry demands transcendence. 

— Michael Simmons

Recording Artist, Musician, Music Journalist - MOJO, Huffington Post

Chuck does a service to us all by keeping the John Stewart flame alive.. "Irresistible Targets" made me miss John so much. Chuck has so much of his vocal…. ‘Intent’ is the right word, I think. Truthfulness. It was a pleasure to hear that song again, rendered so true and with such integrity.

– Rosanne Cash

 

 

It's no wonder McDermott was named to the Massachusetts Country Music Hall of Fame--his music is simply pure art.

– Paste Magazine

Chuck McDermott's a man. He sings like a man. His sentiments and vocabulary are adult. There's no postured "folkie-Okie, see-how-sensitive-I-am" horse shit here. He's a a golden-throated singer with a tight band and his eyes wide open. He's read good writers and learned from them and lived a lot and thought about it. Some of these Gin & Rosewater songs sneak up on you like an assassin who has lulled you to sleep---The Girl From St. Lucy, Irresistible Targets. He and his words are a breath of fresh air. Not a hint of whining. A Man! Clear-eyed, fearless and tender. I've been playing his album for days.

                                    – Peter Coyote

Author, Actor, Director, and Zen Priest

Chuck McDermott is a Yale-educated cowboy whose approach to old country and honky-tonk styles are influenced by the example of Gram Parsons. Like Parsons, McDermott may not accept all the moral values that traditional country lyrics espouse (Parsons was an L.A. anarchist; McDermott is a Boston liberal), but he performs it all so earnestly that words become superfluous. It’s the emotion-soaked reediness of his voice that makes the aesthetic payoff. 

– Rolling Stone

 

I love this record and honestly feel it’s one of the best I’ve ever been involved with. Why? 1. Great songs. 2. A genuine voice. 3. Chuck selflessly gave the musicians and me full creative input into shaping the arrangements. It’s a pretty simple formula!

 

– Lorne Entress 

Producer (Lori Mckenna, Mark Erelli, Ronnie Earl)

A number of songs are starting to get under my skin in the best of ways. A really stunning dark, brooding version of Johnny Cash's I Walk the Line, as done by Chuck McDermott. I don't usually like to introduce an artist with a cover song, especially if it's a song that's just iconic and you think, the artist is never going to approach the original. But he's done it! It stunned me. Here's Chuck McDermott covering Johnny Cash, and... I Walk the Line.

And if the name sounds familiar to you... in 2015 he was inducted into the MA Country Hall of Fame." "... though (his record) is a bit more of a blues-based sound, blues, and almost jazz chops. Some top-notch musician and great production."  "...the musicianship is top shelf.

– Perry Persoff

DJ, WUMB Radio, Boston

People sometimes ask me, "What are some of your favorites among the records that you've played on?" My answer is along with Robert Plant, Buddy Miller & Norah Jones, I also list Chuck's, "Gin & Rosewater". It’s an album of very honest, great songs from top to bottom.

– Marco Giovino

Drummer, Producer 

 

As befits a Yale dropout, McDermott makes music with an edge of educated subtlety--the comic send-ups of cars and compulsive consumption sound quite a bit more political than Jerry Reed's, the forlorn laments a whole lot more existentialist than George Jones's. Yet Jerry Reed and George Jones are definitely the comparisons: McDermott may sound a little like Phil Ochs or Keith Carradine in their country personas, but his voice is stronger and more country. 

 

– Robert Christgau

The Village Voice

 

 

My late husband John Stewart was one of the greatest songwriters of his era, and he knew great music when he heard it. John made Chuck his partner; he loved him as a friend and respected his writing and musicianship. I can hear Johnny shouting from the stars “BRAVO”. This record is a treasure, beautiful in every way – vocally, lyrically, and musically. It’s a breath of fresh in this digital age, a true and honest accomplishment.

– Buffy Ford Stewart

 

 

Chuck McDermott's music is like hearing what Gram Parsons would be doing if he were alive today. He effortlessly pulls together the patchwork elements of Americana with the insight and sophistication of a veteran songwriter.

 

– Patrick Coman

DJ WUMB Radio, Boston

 

 

Chuck McDermott is an essential part of the Boston music fabric… beloved by peers and knowing fans and someone to point to when looking for an easy definition of “Americana”.​

– Chad Berndtson

The Patriot Ledger

 

From the early days with his fine local Massachusetts-based band, Wheatstraw, to his personal connection in California playing and recording with the great John Stewart, Chuck McDermott has forged a solid and lasting musical career. His writing, singing, playing and recording show his dedication and belief in the power of music. With an excellent new album on the horizon, I can sense this thread continuing forward. Exemplary songs like The Girl From St. Lucy and James Foley Diaries reveal a deep sense of newfound maturity and absolute grace. I urge you to see Chuck and his band live. You will be astounded by the powerful performance. Energy delivered! Amen! I will happily continue to air Chuck McDermott right here on My Back Pages!

–  Barnes Newberry

Host, My Back Pages (www.mvyradio.com)