Colin McGrath | Window Seat

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Folk: Alternative Folk Rock: Folk Rock Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Window Seat

by Colin McGrath

Thoughtful, intricately crafted songs with expressive, honest singing and rich, organic textures and arrangements. Window Seat is a moving collection of sketches and observations, a gently instructive album that offers something new with each listen.
Genre: Folk: Alternative Folk
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Ruthy
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2:27 $0.99
2. Grin Like That
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2:56 $0.99
3. Almost Perfect
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2:41 $0.99
4. Old Familiar
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3:40 $0.99
5. Anochece
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3:17 $0.99
6. Squirrels
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2:23 $0.99
7. Guests
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3:24 $0.99
8. Breathe
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4:05 $0.99
9. Talk to Me
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2:59 $0.99
10. Taking Their Own Sweet Time
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3:11 $0.99
11. Home
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6:09 $0.99
12. Fool For a Pretty Thing
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3:15 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
“Window Seat” explores themes such as time and memory, growing up while trying to stay young, recognizing the extraordinary within the ordinary, the privileging of emotion over reason, the struggle to rise above cliché, and loss and longing for a sense of home. “Window Seat” encourages us to express ourselves unselfconsciously. It reminds us that time passing means less than how we spend that time.

The album’s flow is alternately exhilarating and dreamy, joyful and introspective. Each song maintains a balance of loose buoyancy with structured and delicate nuance. While the songs stand alone as complete works, they also gain in interest and power as a result of their placement within a carefully designed and compelling sequence.

McGrath’s words are wise, moving and clever without being pretentious or sentimental. His singing is sincere and expressive, conveying the meaning of the lyrics with sensitivity and conviction. On "Window Seat," McGrath is telling his favorite stories and listeners have the best seat in the house.

The album was produced by William Berlind and the cast of talented musicians and friends who play on it include: William Berlind (who’s song, “Sleeping With the Fan On” is currently rocking the AM airwaves)- Wurlitzer, piano (prepared, toy and otherwise), organ
Aaron Thurston (The French Kicks)-drums
Ian Riggs (Howard Fishman, Ethan Lipton)-bass
Rob Moose (Sufjan Stevens, Antony and the Johnsons)-violin
Diana Kazakova-background vocals
Reid Maclean- background vocals
Justin Hines-percussion
Henry Hample-fiddle
Katy Kresek-violin
Wendy Law-cello
Jacob Wick-trumpet

About Colin McGrath:
Colin McGrath began performing original songs when he was 18 while busking across Europe. He studied music at Oberlin College in Ohio, but the Irish, bluegrass, funk and improv bands he played with fueled his creativity as much or more than the classical music that he studied. After college, at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, McGrath became inspired by a straightforward and honest style of modern folk. He released his first, self-titled folk album while living in San Francisco.

McGrath is as at home composing instrumental music as he is writing songs. He was the musical director of the Killing My Lobster Orchestra in San Francisco when he released “Allegro Con Chutzpah,” an album of quirky and comical instrumentals influenced by Latin, Klezmer and classical music.

Since relocating to his native New York City, McGrath’s music has been heard in theaters, in documentaries (including a Bill Moyers film) and in ads on your TV. At last, with “Window Seat,” Colin McGrath returns to an old love, song writing, but with the background of an orchestrator and composer, influenced by years of music making.


Reviews


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Tamara Turner, CD Baby


The first time you pop in a disc with childlike anticipation, a little bit on the edge of your seat, there’s either an immediacy to the music that grabs you or it goes in one ear and out the other. Colin McGrath fits into the former category: he has a way of crafting songs that pull you in one level at a time (rather than hitting you over the head with the beginning of a song), and crafts his emotional build with a most tender and yet forthright touch. And similarly, despite the number of times a music junkie can pop in a new album, be engaged with the instrumental parts only to be disappointed with the mismatched vocals, living with an album like Colin’s, where the first entrance of his voice hits such a perfect tone of conceptual resonance, is a reminder of how rare it actually is to find such perfect compatibility between singer and songwriter, whether both are the same person or not. So while his listeners are first engaged by his vocal quality, drawing from bits of Greg Brown to Paul Simon, Jackson Browne to Nick Drake, the wonder and integrity doesn’t end there. McGrath’s knack for instrumentation makes one ponder his background; from violin harmonics to charango to prepared and toy piano, his musical sense of space is reminiscent of an orchestrator. McGrath’s use of color and tessitura suggests thoughtful consideration of instrumentation, beyond what the majority of songwriters are willing to ponder: that of instrumental conversation, sonic space, and the ability to change a textural color with an effect that, while it isn’t audible, shifts the tone without question. At the same time, McGrath has a solid singer/songwriter approach and result, These are solid songs, often playful and light as well as intellectual and profound. Window Seat more than earns its esteemed place as an editor’s pick for male folk.

Elise Ikoku

A little bit of everything never sounded so good.
"He must be doing something right to get himself a grin like that," sings Colin McGrath on Window Seat. He's doing a lot of things right.
If you love singer/songwriters like I do, the roadblock you continually run up against is that most are too self-obsessed for their songs to transcend into anything besides diary rock. It's rare to find someone who can write about their personal experiences and still touch someone else's heart...but McGrath excels at this with quiet, understated confidence. He knows exactly what he's doing, and you're just happy to be along for the ride. His hooks are subtly infectious - I dare you not to be humming "Old Familiar" or "Fool for a Pretty Thing" under your breath for days. His lyrics and melodies blend seamlessly, another rare thing among those who seem to be convinced that if you can write a good lyric, you can write a good song.
Another chronic problem of the run-of-the-mill songwriter is to write a good song, but fail to put together a cohesive and interesting album. Here again, McGrath succeeds, and makes it sound easy. Window Seat has delicate, precise instrumentation - a harmonica or violin solo will often last only five or six notes, adding a soft flourish to a phrase without ever becoming overbearing. The songs fit together beautifully, from the upbeat folksiness of "Ruthy" to the Topanga-Canyon airiness of "Anochece" to the more urban jazziness of "Fool for a Pretty Thing" (which, incidentally, is just the sort of song Sam Cooke or Billie Holiday would've killed to cover). Window Seat sings me echoes of luminaries like Paul Simon and Amos Lee, but manages to sound completely different at the same time.
The best songwriters are those who can turn a brief and fleeting moment into something meaningful...and McGrath does this naturally, easily, effortlessly. Grab hold of this album as quickly as possible, and let it do the same thing to you. I promise it will.

Theseus Roche

Odes to Joy
Colin McGrath deserves great praise for the composition and execution of each track, as well as for the cohesiveness of the album as a whole, despite the eclecticness of musical styles. What is even more noteworthy is that Colin does not harp upon angst and ennui, which are the usual themes in independent art. Instead, each track fills the listeners ear with joy, inspiring hope for the world, even with a simple track like "Squirrels" or "Old Familiar." To purchase "Window Seat" is to make an investment in one's own peace of mind and joie de vivre.