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Michael McDermott at 20 Front Street, 3 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2019

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Michael McDermott is a kind of little musician who could.

The Chicago-based singer-songwriter began his career on major labels back in 1991 before becoming an independent artist just over a decade later. He's had lyrics quoted in Stephen King books and placements in movies and TV shows. He's been prolific, too -- 13 studio albums and enough material that his latest release, "Orphans," features a dozen songs from earlier in the decade that hadn't made it onto albums yet.

McDermott also maintains a heavy touring schedule, and boasts a strong following across the pond, particularly in Italy...

"Orphans," which came out during February, features songs written and recorded while McDermott was working on his last two albums, 2016's "Willow Springs" and last year's "Out From Under." "I was playing a lot of these songs on tour and people would ask me, 'Hey, is that song on the record?'" he says by phone. "I started thinking that this is a little different. These songs aren't going away. I thought enough of them that I kept them around and played them -- it's not like I dug up the dregs sitting in the closet. They were like little bastards wandering around with nowhere to go, and I thought they should have a home."

The "Orphans" songs, like those on those recent albums, are drawn from a 10-year struggle with substance addiction, which McDermott kicked during 2014. "I was killing myself, literally I lived so long as this faux poetic drunken, fallen rock star kind of thing. It was like my avatar. It got so bad I just wanted out; In no uncertain terms, I wanted it all to be over. So I stopped and now it's five years and one day at a time, and it's a full-time job, really. It takes up so much of my thoughts and my life now, so of course it's going to be part of the (songs), too."

McDermott, who lists meditation as one of his replacements for substances, credits his wife and King with encouraging him to get clean, and he feels that he's reaping the benefits of that. "The career's never been better, and I've got to think my sobriety has something to do with that. It's been like a dream. People really want to hear me, and I think I'm playing and singing better than I ever have. It feels like I've really righted the ship."

Michael McDermott performs at 8 p.m. Friday, April 12, at 20 Front Street in Lake Orion. $18. 248-783-7105 or 20frontstreet.com.

Web Site: www.20frontstreet.com

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