Michael McDermott broke onto the music scene in the early 1990s and was quickly hailed by music critics as the next Bob Dylan and/or Bruce Springsteen for his blend of rootsy folk-rock. The images and cast of characters that McDermott weaves into each song never fails to shine light on our own triumphs, insecurities and hopes for redemption. A hit first single with A Wall I Must Climb and an accompanying MTV Buzz Bin video brought his first album 620 W. Surf/1991 a great deal of early attention. After switching labels from Giant/Warner to SBK/EMI and releasing two more albums Gethsemane/1994 and Michael McDermott/1996, he found himself the victim of what many artists fear: a label closing its doors for good. Even though the combined sales of his three major label releases reached over 100,000, he chose to release his next album, Bourbon Blue/1999, independently. The grass-roots success of Bourbon Blue sparked the interest of Koch Records, who signed the performer and released Last Chance Lounge/2000. The album received critical acclaim in the New York Times, L.A. Times, Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone and the Chicago Tribune, to name just a few. Two tracks from Last Chance Lounge are featured in the New Line film Knockaround Guys, starring John Malkovitch, Dennis Hopper, Seth Green and Vin Diesel.
The Chicago-born-and-based singer/songwriter has recently released a new album entitled Ashes/2004. Choosing to stick with the DIY approach, (Ashes) is another independent project released on his own label, Pauper Sky Records. Ashes is a composite of two recording sessions, recorded over the course of eighteen months, in Houston, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The songs were produced by Joe Hardy (The Replacements, Steve Earle, Tom Cochrane), Dan Petty (Shawn Colvin, the Stone Roses, LeAnn Rimes), and Michael McDermott. The album features guest appearances by Mike Malinin (Goo Goo Dolls), Jennifer Condos (Whiskeytown, Don Henley), Jay Belrose (Beck, Paula Cole), Scott Seiver (Jason Mraz) and Joe Karnes (Imperial Drag).
Two tracks from Ashes, Everything I Got and Dance with Me have quickly become staples on WXRT (Chicago), WXPN (Philly) and a third, Gonna be Good is a mainstay on XM Radios Nude Cafe. Ashes rose to NUMBER 1 on XM Radios Nude Cafe Music Review on June 21, 2004 and has been in the TOP 25 since its release.
Michael has been a featured guest on nationally syndicated radio programs World Cafe, Acoustic Cafe and Studio C and has toured extensively in support of all of his releases. He has shared the stage with Van Morrison, The Wallflowers, Cracker, 10,000 Maniacs and The Cowboy Junkies among many others.
McDermott plans to release Beneath the Ashes, a companion disc of songs recorded during the Ashes sessions, later this year.