Don McCloskey
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Don McCloskey

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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Dec
11
Don McCloskey @ Silk City

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Dec
06
Don McCloskey @ Smokey Joe's

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Nov
27
Don McCloskey @ Piano's

Manhattan, New York, USA

Manhattan, New York, USA

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Music

Press


Philadelphia's greatest living folk hero/hipster poet is back with an album that absolutely crackles with attitude and energy. Eschewing the hip-hop DIY digital feel of his previous work, McCloskey recorded Northern Liberties (Lemon Hill) with backing musicians that positively smoke. The result is a confident wordsmith able to unleash his inner rock-star with a trick up his sleeve and his guitar strapped across his back. With a Yuengling in his hand and a chip on his shoulder, McCloskey rails against Haliburton, the war in Iraq and the response to Hurricane Katrina with the blue-eyed resolve of a red-blooded American son. G. Love lends harmonica to "The Beautiful Girl in The Beautiful Car," but the album highlights are when the mood changes to relationships on the manic up-all-night "Rooftops" or the Strokes-y "Fountain of Youth." The entire album is great, and the ode to his family, "Son Of It All," will have you "losing your mind, pressing rewind and singing salvation." - Jambase.com


" I have seen thousands of acts over the years as the booking agent for a major NYC venue and Don McCloskey is hands down one of my favorite all time performers. From the funny rap style of a Kid Rock or a Beastie Boy to soulful ballads that Ray Davies or John Lennon would've been proud to write, McCloskey can do it all and keep the sold-out crowds with him all the way. If you are a booking agent, book him now and if you are an A and R guy, sign him now. 'Nuff said."
- Booking agent for NYC's Sidewalk Cafe, father of Anti-folk


Don McC, aka "ENORMOUS D", plain n' simple, is the heir apparent to the G. Love "slack-hop" throne-with a twist of Dylan n' Zappa also tossed in for good measure mind you. A pure party album if I've ever heard one, so PLEASE, toss out yer Tag Team and Baja Men vinyl before you bring further embarrassment upon yourself, and pick this one up NOW. "Live From The Other Side" is the album highlight, but none of the tracks suck. File Under: Fun til' daddy takes the clam-baked T-Bird away.
- Disc Jockey WBCN Boston, editor of purerockfury.com


Don't let this witty, clever and often satirical singer-songwriter pull the wool over your eyes. At first you may find yourself listening and laughing out loud... listen on. Simmering beneath the surface is an array of music and lyrics that reveal the true heart and soul of this born-to-be performer. I could point out the key tracks to listen out for, "the one to go with", "the first and second to hit the airwaves" but the truth is you WILL want to take it all in, song-by-song. BOMBS OVER BRISTOL is filled with a unique, alluring and defiantly insightful mix of music - don't pass it by.

IMAGINE - just a guy with a guitar, harmonica and stage who can spout out lyrics that would make Ben Folds jealous and Dylan cheer, strum ballads that can make David Gray sigh, and who can rap his ass off. A performer that can transfer the magnetism of a studio album and naturally pour it out into his audience. Imagine. You can't buy that, design that or contrive that, but you can experience that!

So if you missed Don McCloskey live, get your head out of your iTunes and into a newspaper to figure out if you're lucky enough to catch him next time around.
- Kristine King, Sony Music


If you haven't heard of Don McCloskey yet, get ready to make room in your cd player for something new. One of the most truly unique and talented young songwriters I've come across in a long time, Don blends a fusion of folk, funk, hip-hop, rock and a little bit of country, on what has to be one of the best independent releases of 2004. His debut effort on "Bombs Over Bristol" is a breath of fresh air in a music industry dominated by homogeneity and manufactured acts.
- Earvolution.com


There simply is not a song on this CD that doesn’t shine in it’s own way. Each and every song hits its mark flawlessly. Considering the range of styles covered (hip-hop, folk, rock, fuck), that’s saying a lot. And when you further consider that Don plays every instrument on the album, well, that says quite a lot more. And when he channels Bob Dylan on “Apocalypservice (or Jakob Dylan’s 115th Nightmare)”, Bob should be flattered. McCloskey’s lyrics are masterful. He has the ability to reach in and touch something deep in your being with songs like “Mr. Novocaine” and “That Love Card”, but his alter ego Enormous D will send you into one of those uncontrollable fits of laughter where you can’t breathe and might actually pass out with his stories of a pimp who specializes in “the girlies who drop to their knees – for a buck-fifty and a slice of cheese”. This is my favorite album of the year so far, and I’m sure I’ll be saying the same thing in December, too. And seriously, how many artists can pull off hip-hop banjo? - Kulture Mutt Magazine


Don McCloskey has it.
The guy is clever, and he’s got a deft sense of what makes a good folk song — satire, humor and relevant commentary on the times. To top it off, he has an incredibly warm, but edgy, voice and a knack for emphatic intonation.
By all measures, the Bristol-born musician has everything it takes to be a stellar traditional singer-songwriter.
Yet McCloskey seems far from interested in pursuing that path. That was made evident at the release party for his sophomore CD — Northern Liberties — at Johnny Brenda’s during the spring, when enthralled fans watched as McCloskey hung from the balcony, swearing profanely through a bullhorn with a little hip hop call-and-response.
Of course, that particular song also was touched with some banjo-plucking as well. The performance typified the odd juxtapositions in his style, which blends folk, hip hop, and even a bit of blues and punk.
And while McCloskey is not traditional or typical, he is incredibly compelling and entertaining, writing songs that’ll make you laugh, think, and reconsider your musical horizons.
That ability to dance and sing his way through barriers has landed McCloskey in the midst of a two-decade old movement known as "anti-folk," and the local songwriter is one of the more promising members these days.
The anti-folk movement launched out of New York’s East Village in the 1980s, and over time has absorbed artists ranging from the Moldy Peaches to Beck, and most recently, Regina Spektor.
Defining a musical movement can be a tricky task, but anti-folk is a kind of subversion of traditional folk that tends to play on the genre’s hallmarks in dark and humorous ways. Still, thinking about it as "folk" can be misleading, especially in the case of McCloskey’s music.
In some instances, McCloskey will take a traditional folk song and infuse it with non-traditional subject matter (text messages and AOL buddy lists).
Sometimes he’ll offer something that would normally be the topic of a folk song, and deliver it in rapid-fire hip-hop form.
And then there are some songs that are straight folk songs, and beautiful ones at that.
One of his most popular tracks off of Northern Liberties is the rollicking This Just In.
With a Tombstone Blues backbeat and talking-blues lyricism, the sardonic and witty song provides a news flash of all that is amiss in America today:
Got hit by the flu
This year’s version - Paranoia 3.2
Went to the doctor
Said, "Doc do something quick."
He said, "My professional opinion is you’re too poor to get sick.
In just over three minutes, McCloskey takes the listener from a conversation with an Army recruiter to Hurricane Katrina and leaves them on a lunar landscape dotted with Halliburton-installed department stores.
Concise and cutting, the satirical number recalls Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton and Loudon Wainwright III. But it also is current and approachable — to the point that the mainstream classic-rock radio station WMMR saw it fit to work the number into their rotation.
The 12-track album is an eclectic mix, with other gems like My Focken Glockenspiel and Return of the Freak Emcee taking an entirely different, hip-hop rooted path.
Named in tribute to the three months that McCloskey spent living in the neighborhood, Northern Liberties also makes reference to Philly staples like Yuengling bottles that get tossed back and the Eagles.
The album also features contributions from Philly’s G-love and Medeski Martin and Wood session bassist Tom Spiker, who produced the album.
On Tuesday, McCloskey kicked off his first in a series of shows scheduled at The Fire, effectively bringing the songs back to the neighborhood where they were spawned.
In the coming weeks, the dynamic and daring McCloskey will be playing three more of his lively shows at the Fire, with the next one coming this Tuesday night. He will finish out his residency on Aug. 28. ••
- Northeast Times


Don McCloskey is not selling out anytime soon. Consider it part of his charm. For while his songs may lack the mainstream appeal that has propelled many of today's singer/songwriters into the spotlight, they are nevertheless strong, catchy and creative little ditties, which even in their genre-defying glory are attracting quite an audience. (Many a sold-out audience in fact.)

Mixing folk, country, hip-hop and rock, a laid-back attitude and a shaggy haircut, McCloskey reminds us of another versatile anti-hipster: Beck (the difference of course being that Beck didn't start his own record label). Both artists possess scratchy voices, Dylan-esque spoken-word lyrics and a special irreverence for tradition, structure and contemporary politics. (You can take our word for it, or check out the video for "This just in")

Yet despite being all but ignored by the greater listening public, McCloskey boasts an impressive resume, having worked and toured with both G. Love and Bad Brains' Chuck Treece and had his songs featured on MTV and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. But by far McCloskey is best at his live shows, which are guaranteed to have audiences shrieking and screaming for more.

Check it out for yourself tonight, December 20 at 8:30 p.m. when McCloskey takes the stage at Tin Angel. For tickets, visit TicketWeb.com.
- Philly Style Magazine


It's a Friday night at the Fire, a North Philly bar and music venue. The place is at capacity - people lined up outside the door shiver in the cold, awaiting a nod from the bouncer. Like most nights of the week, the Fire is hosting a lineup of several bands to play hour-long sets. Up next is Don McCloskey, a singer-songwriter who has become a local favorite and one of the club's regular performers. Armed with a guitar and a four-person band, his set begins. The crowd's energetic response to his enthusiastic stage presence makes clear why so many have come out in the cold to see McCloskey.

McCloskey, a 30-year-old musician originally from the Philadelphia area, is known for his eclectic, genre-crossing style. His songs vary from folksy love ballads to comedic hip-hop with a country twist and from politically charged rock songs to fresh funk numbers. Despite the fact that he now lives in Brooklyn, McCloskey has managed to carve a niche for himself in the Philly scene, regularly playing shows in Northern Liberties, Old City and even at Smoke's this past December (where he'll play again this coming February). As a part of the up-and-coming Antifolk movement - a loosely defined, experimental brand of folk-inspired music whose big names include Beck, Regina Spektor and Kimya Dawson (of Juno fame) - McCloskey is poised for a breakthrough in his musical career.

Loyal fans from the East Village make up the majority of the audience at McCloskey's New York shows. He also has substantial recognition closer to home, in the Philadelphia area. After several years of gigging at various Philly venues, he has made a name for himself and attracted a large following at the Grape Street Pub in Manayunk, the Tin Angel in Old City and The Fire in Northern Liberties. His crowd-pleasing performances won him two Philly Music Awards, one for "Best Male Entertainer" and the other for "Best Acoustic Act," both in 2004, as well as a song spotlighted on the FX sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Like many artists today, McCloskey recorded both of his albums under his own independent label, Lemon Hill Records. He is optimistic about the reach of his music within the current landscape of independent record labels, which he likens to the wild wild West. "Its good for guys like me and the band who are just out there doing it on our own," he says. "It's a good time for us."

Though he seems content with "doing it on his own," McCloskey has been getting some significant attention from major record labels recently. If his success continues, he could follow in the steps of his Antifolk predecessors who were signed to major labels. Even on the verge of making it big, it seems that for McCloskey, there is nothing like the simple joys of a six-string, a Yuengling and his hometown.


- The Pennsylvanian


Philadelphia's greatest living folk hero/hipster poet is back with an album that absolutely crackles with attitude and energy. Eschewing the hip-hop DIY digital feel of his previous work, McCloskey recorded Northern Liberties (Lemon Hill) with backing musicians that positively smoke. The result is a confident wordsmith able to unleash his inner rock-star with a trick up his sleeve and his guitar strapped across his back. With a Yuengling in his hand and a chip on his shoulder, McCloskey rails against Haliburton, the war in Iraq and the response to Hurricane Katrina with the blue-eyed resolve of a red-blooded American son. G. Love lends harmonica to "The Beautiful Girl in The Beautiful Car," but the album highlights are when the mood changes to relationships on the manic up-all-night "Rooftops" or the Strokes-y "Fountain of Youth." The entire album is great, and the ode to his family, "Son Of It All," will have you "losing your mind, pressing rewind and singing salvation." - Jambase.com


Discography

Biggest Demo, 2001
Bombs Over Bristol, 2003
Northern Liberties, 2007
Corporal Spirits, 2012

Photos

Bio

Don McCloskey is a Brooklyn-based independent songwriter and performer. His songs and performances are eclectic both in genre and in tone. He's lyrically fixated on love, death, sex, spirituality, politics, obscure German percussion instruments, men's figure skating, and the town he was born in. His music is heavily influenced by American and Irish folk revivalists, British Invasion rock, and 80's hip hop. His songs have been featured in television, film and commercials including "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", "The Hills" and Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine."

McCloskey's newest album, Corporal Spirits, was his first working with record producer, Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man, Josh Ritter). In stark contrast to the lo-fi multi-tracking of Bombs Over Bristol and the stripped-down folk rock aesthetic of Northern Liberties, Corporal Spirits was recorded live with a ten-piece band with McCloskey handling writing, arranging and vocal duties. The result is a large, sweeping, soundscape that provides wide-open spaces for McCloskey's surrealistic imagery to run wild.