Reverend TJ McGlinchey,
Tell Me to Stay
(independent, 2012)

Reverend TJ McGlinchey's music is all over the map; I say this very literally. Much of his debut album, Tell Me to Stay is rather folky and has a unmistakable Americana sound to it. However certain songs, such as "Hey Baby" and "Oye Bella," have distinctively Latin-American vibes.

While the gamut of music that this album runs is quite impressive (he seamlessly transitions into Spanish vocals, then back to English, at times), it makes for a bit of a confusing collection of songs to put on one album. It almost gives the feeling of a greatest-hits compilation, as opposed to a debut.

The songs here are consistently entertaining, while ever-changing. Some highlights include the aforementioned "Hey Baby," the opening track "Too Much" (which is the single best track on the record) and "Spinning Wheels," which has a bit of a "determined twang" (for other examples of "determined twang," see "Ghost Riders in the Sky" by Johnny Cash and "Caravan" as performed by Chet Atkins and Les Paul).

If you had to classify McGlinchey's music into one genre, it would fall somewhere in the country/folk spectrum. Unfortunately, I am of the belief that his strength lies somewhere between classic rock, blues and salsa. The biggest flaw in his country songs is that they are too simple. Granted, artists such as Willie Nelson and Lefty Frizzell have taught us there can be greatness in simplicity, but this is not as much the case with McGlinchey. As somebody who is self-described as incredibly picky when it comes to country, I don't think this album shows enough promise for McGlinchey to make it as a great country artist. However, I firmly believe his capabilities on the electric guitar would serve him very well in a career similar to Carlos Santana, though McGlinchey can supply his own more-than-capable vocals.

The country aspects aren't terrible, and they by no means ruin the album, but they do not need to be spliced into this piece of work. For example, the dreary tracks "Little Red Car," "Let's Fall in Love," "There was a Time" and "Gina" all sound like a combination of Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney, which is not what belongs with the otherwise solid tracks that make up this album. For the artist, these tracks show McGlinchey's incredible range and skill set. For the album, these tracks show McGlinchey appears to be throwing any song he can onto one collection.

music review by
Bryan Frantz

8 September 2012

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