Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
The Replacements, The Constantines, The Hold Steady
Eamon McGrath spent the cold winters of his Edmonton youth digesting The Replacements while unwittingly absorbing the country sounds saturating the prairie soil of Western Canada. McGrath combines the drunken loutishness of Paul Westerberg with the poet's soul of Bob Dylan, infusing his delivery with a vocal intensity that can rival Bruce Springsteen. It's been a quick climb to relevance for this up and coming young Canadian.
Eamon McGrath attributes his musical sensibilities to his father, who spent his youth attending Clash and Ramones concerts in his native Edmonton. Eamon's father took him to see his first rock show, Green Day, when he was 9 years old and McGrath readily admits that his parents are still cooler than him today. Having recently relocated to Toronto, he's now in his early twenties, but McGrath started gigging in his mid-teens and his musical oeuvre has rapidly evolved from that of a punk agitator to a roots-driven balladeer. Eamon's strongest asset is his forceful voice, a gravelly tenor seemingly weathered by chain-smoked cigarettes and countless hours downing shots on a corner barstool. The juxtaposition between the hoarseness of his voice and its assured command can be captivating. The music consists of stripped down, guitar-centric arrangements, conveying a "recorded in one take" vibe that grants them a ramshackle appeal. McGrath tells Saturday night bar tales of lost love, "Johnny Brought the Bottles Back", serves up country-tinged slices of Canadana (northern version of Americana), "Breaking Horses", and delivers his own take on The Replacements rumination ballad with "Teardrops on the Sun". Eamon is still maturing as a songwriter, but with a voice as powerful as his, when his music grows up it's sure to defy any labels.