Acoustic Covers fill the campus Grind
By Jenna Geiser
Arts and Entertainment Editor
TheLamron- Geneseo College Newspaper
On Friday evening, the Grind in the Union filled with students who had the pleasure of listening to acoustic singer/songwriter Dave McGrath perform from 10 p.m. until midnight. McGrath's presence pulled fans to the eatery and likewise created a coffeehouse atmosphere by providing a relaxed and refreshing musical backdrop for customers. McGrath who hails from the Rochester area, put out his first album three years ago. Since then, according to the performer, he has been playing gigs regularly, opening for The Charlie Daniels' Band last week.
McGrath couldn't place himself within one genre of music. He described himself as playing a range from "country to rock to blues." In addition to his own original work- his second album will be coming out next week- McGrath played many covers of classic songs by artists such as Train, Eric Clapton, Gavin DeGraw and others.
Though the show was by no means a full-blown concert, it did provide a refreshing experience for listeners; the show's humble quality allowed customers to sit and converse while still enjoying McGrath's charming voice and skillful guitar playing.
McGrath began the show with a cover of the well-known song "Drops of Jupiter" by Train. The slight twang of his country-style voice as well as the soothing tones of his guitar gave this number a very calming feeling, which pervaded the audience and set the mood for the rest of the performance. His cover of the slow version of Clapton's "Layla" kept the atmosphere of the Grind very mellow. In addition, McGrath's voice made his rendition sound nearly identical to Clapton's own acoustic cover of the hit single. Michael Buble's "Home" was also on McGrath's set list, and the musician admirably provided the song with a much-needed acoustic version. Songs like Gavin DeGraw's "I dont Wanna Be" and Tonic's "If You could Only See" injected a few moments of rock into the show, picking up the pace as necessary and allowing McGrath opportunities to show off his skills with the guitar. Some of his original work introduced a strain of Southern blues into the mix, such as the tracks "Mississippi Mud" from his self-titled first album, or "Change My Luck" from his yet to be released second CD.
Due to the length of the show, many viewers only attended intermittently but a small core audience was always ready to meet the conclusion of one of McGrath's songs with an approving round of applause. The presence of an entertainer such as McGrath not only brought the fun of Geneseo Late Knight to the Grind, but managed to make the atmosphere of the small eatery even more inviting and enjoyable.
GLK should consider bringing in acts like McGrath in the future- after all, what is a coffeehouse without live entertainment.
Review from TuneReview
Dave McGrath MySpace Page Review:
Alright it was kind of a rough weekend. I didn't listen as much as I should have and Monday Morn came too soon. Luckily, as I brewed coffee and fired up the studio, Dave McGrath was waiting in my comments box. Nice stuff Dave, nothing like some soulful Acoustic rock to help start the week. Guitars - Well played. I like the acoustics better than the electric sounds. Seems like there is more power in them. Nice that Dave isn't a singer that plays or a player that sings. He is just a really musical cat. Bass - subtle, soulful, right in the pocket. Good solid direct sound. Drums - Nice vibe. Good pocket. Supports the vocals and the song structures well. The recording on the 2008 stuff is a little odd imaging wise. Vocals - I like Dave's voice. very honest and expressive. He's got enough power to get his point across, and enough soul to get you to hear what he is saying. Everything is delivered naturally. His background singer is suited perfectly to harmonize with him. Songs Found It - Acoustic rock in 5/4. Not a lot of guys would wear that, but on Dave it looks good. Feels natural not forced. Good lyrics. Nice arrangement. This is my favorite song on the page. Radio Performances - There are 2 on the page. cool to show that Dave isnt a studio product. He can sing and play and have fun. I like the tune 'Enough' Away - This is a nice song. a bit formula for me, but it is in the classic American tradition. Short. Shine - Beautiful song of 'days lost' Possibly the best mix on the page. I really like the BG vocals also. Best drum sounds, though the cymbals still have some imaging problems. Some really pretty acoustic playing. Can't Wait - this is an older song. The production sounds older. The whole thing seems a little slow. Like the band is holding back to the click. But there is good energy in the Chorus. I like cats putting earlier tunes on their page. It is interesting to see how they have progressed. I think this shows that Dave is getting more comfortable in the studio, and getting better at producing his songs. Production - The 2008 songs have taken a big step forward in sound and arrangements. I think production wise 'Shine' is the best. Still there is a flatness in the mixes. Some of this could be the MP3 conversion. There are small compression artifacts throughout all the songs. I think that the material and performances deserve a richness and depth that is a bit lacking in the mixes. the drum recording seems out of balance with the cymbals very wide and detached from the drums. Compression wise, it seems that the sounds get small when the arrangements get big. This is all my engineers ears kicking in. When I just sit back, I enjoy listening to the songs. It looks like Dave plays all the time locally. I am going to try to catch one of his shows this weekend. He is definately putting out the kind of music that goes well with friends, Spring and Beer. MMMmmmm .... Beer.
Best Acoustic Holler from a Blue Collar: Dave McGrath
- BY FRANK DE BLASE City Newspaper Best Of 2007
Dave McGrath is one of the hardest-working men in showbiz 'round these parts. After slaving away all day, the man works all night as the crowds in the bars he plays work it all off. Just dig his schedule at davemcgrath.com; the cat is playing out just about every night. And where a musician could cop a world-weary tone under these circumstances, McGrath shoulders his guitar in lieu of his burdens and shares the joy with his big smile, and in his sweet tenor and puts it in perspective the way only a classic singer/songwriter can.
Ty.Amant Independent Music Critic @*@*@* SPIROGRATH *@*@*@
Remember how a Spirograph picture ALWAYS looked unique and recognizable no matter what size or shape wheel was inserted, or which color pen you would include to add flair to it ... the design always came out as some wild, far-out creation. That is the patented magic unique creations will always have the ability to bring forth. Dave McGrath is, similarly, a unique musician with the uncanny ability to carry HIS SOUND with him through to all projects he is a part of. In this incarnation he has released his first official solo album in his very own (Rochester, NY - better check nearby foundations for cracks) home studio, and it is an amazing piece of work. Dave has learned his lessons well from years of playing with kick ass rock bands like The Puddle Jumpers in Seattle (and releasing three top quality albums with them) and Tribal Therapy, playing around the Northwest for a few years (that I unfortunately missed). Now he is front and center with his own album. His ability in the recording studio is very apparent with intricate and lush layers of rippin' guitar leads/rich acoustic guitar foundations, along with the great supporting musicians additions - the spiroGRATH cogs all combine in a fascinating spin of musical beauty, but still thoroughly recognizable as Dave's trademark sound (The Puddle Jumpers were kind of doomed when he left since his additions were so fundamental to the sound, no replacement could be found). None of the lines stray and the final product is ready to be placed front and center where it should be. Turn it up on a nice system and the depth of the sound pulls you right in and sounds incredible, really RICH. Congratulations Dave and the band, this is quite an accomplishment. The song-writing on the album has a good few years of reflection, changes and dreams well-represented. And Dave writes some great, hooky choruses while often bangin' you with his signature tight, toneful guitar anthems and soaring harmonies (check out Best of Me, Alone and Found it - that is the McGrath sound I remember - soaring chord progressions over tone-rich leads). Songs like Float and No Reason highlight some great fingerstyle guitar with harmonious vocals ... Dave has a very soothing voice (and it is so sad if he lost a brother ... the song is heart-breaking). Southern Blues/rock, kind of in a Skynyrd/Doobies mode is a fun diversion on a couple of songs (e.g., 55 & Mississippi Mud), and one I'm very comfortable with since I grew up near the river in St. Louis and southern rock is a staple there. I have always noticed a bit of that in his sound for sure. The other guitarist listed, Pat Petrone, supports the songs well. Maybe they are twin sons of different mothers ... I'm not always sure which guitar part is which, they have a similar sound (I have seen Dave's champagne taste in musical equipment on stage before, he doesn't scrimp - only the best). The liquid energy tone on the guitars is an effective head clearer, you may now throw out the brandy snifter - TURN IT UP!. Can't Wait is a good example of it all played out: "I think it's time that we get moving, Get back to what we started, Not playing is worse than losing"; The two guitar sounds in a wall of thunder, the hooky chorus with reflective lyrics - A radio hit is born. One Chance is another rocker (even with the love song theme) with a catchy hook that seems very radio friendly - Dave has a serious knack for memorable melodies. The guitars, AGAIN, stand out in a big way, and the singing additions of Alicia Groth really adds something to the song and the album. I have to say, You Are is one of my favorites at this early stage, for the softer side of the album. It has a nice jazzy flavor with string bass, a bit of orchestration, and very pretty guitar. Tempers is a wonderful song with a great message: " For gold and silver we've grown obsessed, These crimes of nature we must confess, Endangered species that find no rest, Do you know that I've preserved you". Like Found It (third song), the thoughts expressed feel like something floating through your own subconscious (I've been feeling this way myself with recent world events). Almost Made It is a great closer, kind of sad but hopeful ... I wonder what he is really talking about? The instrumentation is just beautiful, and more stripped down, but still very full sounding. It would be interesting to me if his progressive undertones and technical ability (he is a guitarist's guitarist, but being polite to his usual listening audience perhaps - many don't have patience for extended length songs or intense guitar work) would find a home in at least one longer song per album, for guitar playing fans like me. Of course, his songs will "take him where they take him" - just a bit of wishful thinking. If you haven't heard of Dave McGrath, take a chance on this. If you've heard him already you won't need convincing. This is one of America's more promising and unique guitarists and recording artists. I'll spare you comparing him with many of my other favorite guitar player/musicians since he really has a style all of his own. It would be a shame if his music doesn't get the exposure it deserves - HELP SPREAD THE WORD, DAVE (AND THE BAND) ROCKS! And I hear another solo album is in the works ... I'M THERE!
The Freetime Review, written by Michelle Picardo. "A little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll, sometimes acoustic, sometimes pop we heard the many faces of Rochester singer/songwriter, Dave McGrath on his new self-titled CD. The very talented McGrath sings with great emotion, boasting well-crafted tunes that showcase such feeling. My favorite, "Alone," is a beautiful and melancholy track that illustrates the depth of this artist. Hear for yourself as McGrath celebrates the release of his new CD on Friday, June 3rd at Fat Moe's, where he'll be joined by his Band, and you can also catch McGrath performing in an acoustic duo with Pat Petrone (who appears on the album) at Leadbelly Landing on Thursdays, and also at Maoria's On the Bay on Wednesdays"
Strangeroad Review written by Chad Myers
Some of the most moving music ever created was also some of the simplest. The early bluesmen, through to some of the greatest rock bands to grace a stage made songs the were easy to understand, yet moved the soul. That is what I was reminded of the first time I listened to Dave McGrath's self titled album. I can classify Dave McGrath as a soulful, talented song writer and an inspired guitar player. The music is rock-n-roll with a country flavor mixed in. The guitar screams on some songs and is melodic on others. The consensus pick for the best song amongst fans is usually "No Reason" an excellent song, but my personal favorite has to be "Can't Wait". I love the music and the strength of the song, especially the hook sung by Alysia Groth, a guest vocalist on the album. The album turns bluesy on such tracks as "55" and "Mississippi Mud", a simple but passionate song about the South. Other tracks I enjoyed are "Tempers", an earthy song that causes deep thought and the love song "One Chance". This album is very well produced and the time and energy really come through in the finished product. To purchase the album and for more info, go to www.davemcgrath.com, or be sure to check out a show if you are in the Rochester, NY area. I firmly believe you won't be dissappointed. Copyright 2005 Strangeroad.com | The road less traveled...until now!
Thanks toMichelle Picardo with Freetime Magazine (Rochester, NY) for including us in her "Local Spotlight: Recapping 2005" top 10 list. The well-known Rochester music writer listed our debut CD as one of her 10 favorite local releases of 2005. The other featured artists and releases are as follows: Blue Jimmy: Self Titled___Brian Lindsay: The Crossing___The Riviera Playboys: Ambassadors of Rock-n-Roll Joe Dady: My Conesus Cabin Home__Wales Road: Praying Mantis__Scattered Ink: Save Naive Too Tall & the Howlin' Mercy Blues Band: Hoodoo Voodoo__The Bloody Hollies: If Footmen Tire You Los Fadeaways: Americana Beer This CD is a very enjoyable listen!
Reviewer: Todd Colegrove
I purchased this CD after Dave and his band played a gig at a local automobile dealership...I was mesmerized by his sound and the CD is just as mesmerizing. Dave writes an intelligent song complimented by very engaging music that pulls you in and relates to anyones life experience...he has that knack of being able to touch you with his song. "No Reason" is my favorite track on the release, a haunting tune of loss that sticks with you...I find myself singing the song all the time. Other tracks that standout for me are "55", "Tempers", "Mississippi Mud"...though there is not a weak track on this release. The CD crosses over from country to rock and is appealing to a wide audience. It is very much worth the money...it is the kind of CD that will remain in your regular CD playlist. The writing, playing and production is top-notch.
The songs on this cd touch my heart because of how the artist personalizes all of them. I am especially fond of "No Reason", it manages to touch you somewhere deep down. Just when your feeling a certain way, your lifted higher with 55, the track "One Chance" is another favorite because of it's unique lyrics. Mississippi Mud goes without saying, the diversity and depth of this music is what makes it special and stand out. Good job!!!!!!!
Reviewer: Elizabeth Cable
and acoustic expression. I know he rocks. This album shows that. His public performances show that. But when you are in his living room, if you are so lucky...and you hear and feel him stroke the guitar and sing with his sweet eyes closed, well then my friends you have him at his finest. No Reason is as close to that feeling as you can get without being there in Rochester's wild landssong writingNo Reason is the reason to buy this disc. Dave's strength is in his