Garth Michael McDermott

Garth Michael McDermott

BandAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

A kind of Roosty/Pop/Americana. Neil Finn, Elvis Costello and Jon Brion meet for lunch.

Biography

After spending his entire life on the east coast and writing songs on piano and guitar beginning at age 12, former New York City-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Garth Michael McDermott spent 4 years in Portland, Oregon (2004-2008), where he released his critically acclaimed record, "Highways and Ghosts, " - an effort that leaned away from the power-pop tendencies of Garth’s past work with his band, American Lad, (called “one of Long Island’s best pop/rock outfits” by The Voice) - toward a more rootsy and personally reflective approach, which Garth developed upon moving to Portland.

"Highways and Ghosts" quickly became a best seller on CD Baby (upon its release) and went on to have half of its songs featured on major network television shows (ABC, CBS, FOX) and lifestyle movies, which allowed Garth to spend some time on the road - traveling on both coasts and selling CDs out of his car.

"To me, Highways and Ghosts is a testament to the strength of the dynamic human spirit. The idea that no matter what stage in life we’re in, there are always circumstances that allow us to begin again. Circumstances where we get the opportunity to choose what aspects of ourselves we're going to bring forward with us, and what we've elected to leave behind. What version of myself am I going to be now? How have I grown? What have I learned? How am I different? How am I perceived by others? It's about attempting to live life consciously and trying to see if we're capable of realizing and embracing the most important aspects of our lives as they're happening. The idea of "scalable wisdom" - the notion that - hey, this might not be exactly how we planned it, but we're going to live with the choices we've made and carve out a new path. But mostly, I think it suggests the one main idea that – no matter what path or stage – life is always a continuous series of highways and ghosts. "

Upon arriving in Nashville, Garth has been working on putting out a new record of tracks he recorded with the Portland band, The Fingerprints (See "Wish You Well," "You Always Said" and "Sorry, Your Majesty in the MUSIC section of this site), as well as finishing a new nashville-based solo record of songs penned since arriving in Music City.

This summer, Garth has teamed up with Mad Donna's in East Nashville (1313 Woodland St.) and is the brainchild behind their "Intimate Concert Series" that happens each Wednesday evening, from 7-9pm. Garth hosts and books the entire event - assembling a diverse array of writers in the most intimate of settings every week.

"From the beginning, the goal has always been to continue to preserve a very intimate setting where people are actually coming to hear the songs - not talking in the background - and where Mad Donna's becomes THE place to showcase songwriters and up and coming new artists. I usually make an announcement before the show - and it is on all of our literature - that this a 'listening room' - where the audience should be respectful of the performers - (going so far as putting their cell phones on vibrate) while they listen to the writers perform their songs. We also take dinner and seating reservations so people can reserve a night of good food and music. And the food is amazing! (Thanks Joyce!). We are trying to create a intimate "concert" environment. Not an open-mic - or a writers night where you come, play your 15 minutes, and then sit in the back of the room and talk to your friends. We are all in this together - trying to create an event - an intimate gathering of amazing music and performances.

We also film the event every week and can make individual DVDs for the artists who perform each week. We all sit in a circle with the audience all around us, and take turns playing songs for 2 hours straight. Much like the Bluebird. But unlike the Bluebird, you can actually hang out here afterwards and network with fellow artists, writers and fans. We have drink specials for another hour after the show and always hang around and chat, connect with one another and talk about music. It's been quite amazing, actually!"

For more information about Mad Donna's Writer's Night and Intimate Concert Series, please visit: www.maddonnasmusic.com.

Lyrics

Just Like Thunder

Written By: Garth Michael McDermott

I crashed the new rental car, but then maybe that was a dream
Extreme, but what does it mean? Is it just like thunder?
Goodbye to this beat-up drum dysfunctional symphony
Fanfare starting to wear just from natural wonder

Is every moment you rely on
Every notion you wanna try on
Every matter you're out to dry on
Just a part of a piece of a thought that's escaping?

Sublime but subliminal, well it finally got to me
It's late and you're 28 in a perfect system
Come ride on my handlebars and I'll pedal your dreams away
Misplaced shadows to trace but with scalable wisdom

Is every moment you rely on
Every notion you wanna try on
Every matter you're out to dry on
Just a part of a piece of a thought that's escaping?

Kicking Up The Dirt

Written By: Garth Michael McDermott


When do we spike the drinks? I'm partially drawn to the therapy
If this is swim or sink, I'm only as deep as my memory

So then who's gonna falter first
We're part of a shell of a universe
Where heaven or hell isn't better or worse
And sifting through the earth is just kicking up the dirt

I was looking through the fence, you were pressing your face upon the glass
We were leaning up against the walls of our past with a stone to cast

Thinking who's gonna falter first
We're part of a shell of a universe
Where heaven or hell isn't better or worse
And sifting through the earth is just kicking up the dirt

Small repairs that are tended to now make us so much stronger than this
How will you fare on a new fairground?
Can you make up the time that you missed?
Can you tell it like it is?

So then who's gonna falter first
We're part of a shell of a universe
Where heaven or hell isn't better or worse
And sifting through the earth is just kicking up the dirt

Up From Nothing

Written By: Garth Michael McDermott

3 years in amazement of wonderful lies
As the heart on your sleeve bleeds dry
When I dented your armor, did it feel like this?
Like roaring open canyons that started up from nothing...

Come to my place, color my world
Have me your way

Your filters are fearless and your borders are tight
But the weight of this room feels light
So I'm blowing your cover and you're blowing my mind
Did you want to ask a question? Did you stop to tell me something...

Come to my place, color my world
Have me your way

Records To Your Rivals

Written By: Garth Michael McDermott

Got a hole in your pocket, lost a fortune in change
Isn't that your guardian angel who's caught on a weather vane
There's a growing collection of every perfect miss
A handful of consolations if you go out like this

But you don't lend records to your rivals
And you don't sweat a second downward spiral
What you're leaving for dead don't deserve survival
If you're wounded, you haven't even looked yet...

You can't draw attention if you're covering up
And it can't be a true connection if it don't hold long enough
It was easy when you started, cause you're only getting started
Maybe what you're tired of is never feeling more than tired

I know that you don't lend records to your rivals
And you don't sweat a second downward spiral
What you're leaving for dead don't deserve survival
If you're wounded, you haven't even looked yet...

And you don't lend records to your rivals
And you don't sweat a second downward spiral
What you're leaving for dead don't deserve survival
If you're not wounded, you haven't even lived yet...

Sinking Feelings

Written By: Garth Michael McDermott

Ever wonder why sometimes you can really use another witness
Ever wonder why sometimes you can barely bruise this thickness
Anyone whose had some tears to dry shudders in-between inquiring minds

I wasn't aware I need so much softening
I wasn't able to see my plight or if I were the type you could justify
saving

Washed the memories from these hands, but put the weight on these shoulders
No drawing water from quicksand, just sinking feelings of starting over
You can never reach the surface by trying to read between invisible lines

I wasn't aware I need so much softening
I wasn't able to see my plight or if I were the type you could justify
saving

When I Took The Bait

Written By: Garth Michael McDermott

It takes a lot to bend
But don't wanna go and break again
Cause I don't know if I could defend
all the time that I spent
And I don't know what it was
Was it just another cover-up
that soon deserved to make mention of?
Or was it just what I would need again to remember not to tumble in...

When I took the bait
I had to be sure I wouldn't see the likes of your line anymore
Unless I climbed aboard
So I took the bait
I must have been sure I'd never see the likes of your line anymore
Unless I climbed aboard

There's nothing more to miss
That's how good a good replacement is
And no one ever notices how different it is
There's nothing to understand
I just react under a new command in my mind and on the other hand
And if I land upon my feet again, I'll remember not to tumble in

When I took the bait
I had to be sure I wouldn't see the likes of your line anymore
Unless I climbed aboard
So I took the bait
I must have been sure I'd never see the likes of your line anymore
Unless I climbed aboard

Building The Bricks

Written By: Garth Michael McDermott

We're digging our feet in
We're patching the boards on the back fence
Then hold each other up, pour another cup
And hope we're strong enough

I was barely breathing
And looking for holes in the whole thing
But diamonds from the dust changed the both of us
Like water walked across

Building The Bricks where blood and love run thick
This is the sound when we're both breaking ground
And that's how it goes when all convictions grow
Head in the clouds but then lead me back down

It's a hell of a backyard to keep all the piles of the old parts
So let the morning come
Look and what you've done and where you started from

Building The Bricks where blood and love run thick
This is the sound when we're both breaking ground
And that's how it goes when all convictions grow
Head in the clouds but then lead me back down

Little Fortune

Written By: Garth Michael McDermott

Hey little fortune, whatcha cryin' about?
You got a candle in the window
You got a history in the backseat
You got a carnival of choices, but you're still burned out

And I trust that you can draw wine from this blood
So I bleed for your medicine
But I don't want to bet if you'll rise from the flood
I just want to change your mind

Hey little fortune, take a good look around
Now I'm treading in your waters
But my fear is only random
I was rather unaffected when the ship went down

Still I trust that you can draw wine from this blood
So I bleed for your medicine
But I don't want to bet if you'll rise from the flood
I just want to change your mind

Hey little fortune, baby don't let me down
Now you're mildly forgiving
You're as shady as a backstreet
You're a little hard to handle, but you're all I got

Calendar Crimes

Written By: Garth Michael McDermott


I guess it comes to this - I just miss you
I guess it comes to this - I just miss you
Almost able to turn and walk away slow
I found another truth at the bottom
It was yesterday

With a couple repairs, we'll continue to climb
Baby here's my shoulder, here's to better times
But our history's tales - they were calendar crimes
Cause the page turned over and you drew your lines

I guess it comes to this when I need you
I guess it comes to this - I believed you
I only count a few that were tidal waves
So where'd you learn to shoot?
Your near misses were the plans we made

With a couple repairs, we'll continue to climb
Baby here's my shoulder, here's to better times
But our history's tales - they were calendar crimes
Cause the page turned over and you drew your lines

You Always Said

Written By: Garth Michael McDermott

I've been trying to define you by the damage you caused
And it's not that I won't go the distance, it's just that I've paused
In a boat with all of my fears, I could drift around for years
I suppose

So how come I'm still trying to find you if those wars have been lost?
Well maybe we measured our difference as our signals got crossed
And we were both making sense from each side of the fence

So I'm reminding you because
It seems like history never does
You always said there's nothing there
But acted like there was

Have you always been harder to handle, or just since I got close?
Cause I've poked holes in your oceans and I've swam with your ghosts
But the time we borrowed got spent on all the truth you bent

So I'm reminding you because
It seems like history never does
You always said there's nothing there
But I knew that there was

Well, which words got twisted and tangled, and is that better or worse?
Cause sometimes the sharpest of angles are when they're reversed
You said more that rippled my skin when those lips were closing in

So I'm reminding you because
It seems like history never does
You always said there's nothing there
But acted like there was

You always said there's nothing there
But I knew that there was

I'm still trying to find you...

Discography

Building The Bricks (Fall/2007) - w/The Fingerprints
Highways and Ghosts (2006)
a portrait of the artist as an american lad (2005)
go there...to get here (2004)
American Lad (2001)

Highlights from "Highways and Ghosts"

*3 songs featured on major TV network shows: "What About Brian” (ABC), “How I Met Your Mother" (CBS) and "The Wedding Bells" (FOX) select “Starting To Say Yes,” “Records To Your Rivals,” and “Kicking Up The Dirt,” respectively.

*Clothing retailer Martin + Osa (division of American Eagle) selects 4 songs (“Just Like Thunder,” “Kicking Up The Dirt,” “Records To Your Rivals,” “When I Took The Bait”) for placement in their lifestyle movie and accompanying compilation CD

*Top Seller at CD Baby upon its release

*Top 10 May Releases in Dagger Magazine

*Mountain Stage New Song Contest awards "Kicking Up The Dirt" honorable mention.

*Featured on KINK (Portland, OR) Local Music Spotlight

*Selected a performer at KINK’s Noon Tunes Concert Series at Pioneer Square (Portland, OR) sponsored by Volkswagen.

*Featured on WMUA's "Acoustic Cafe" 91.1FM (Amherst, MA)

*Featured artist and interview on Michael Jonzun's "Audition Radio" (Daytona, FL)

*Featured on Preying Lizard Music's Soft Rock Indie Showcase

*Featured on Lost Cat Records' Great American Music Hour

*Internet Records Contest Winner: "When I Took The Bait" included on Internet Records compilation released May 2006.

Set List

Kicking Up The Dirt
Records To Your Rivals
Just Like Thunder
When I Took The Bait
Up From Nothing
Starting To Say Yes
Miniature Mistakes
Wish You Well
Beautiful Bombs
Almost Good Enough
It All Depends
Sinking Feelings
Everything It Ever Was
Building The Bricks
Little Fortune
Calendar Crimes
You Always Said

90 Minutes