Sean Michael Dargan

Sean Michael Dargan

 Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Sean Michael Dargan's songs are like Lyle Lovett and Elvis Costello playing scrabble with Aimee Mann at a Gin Blossoms show...


Sean Michael Dargan is almost too tall, standing six feet, four inches in his favorite black-and-white saddle shoes. His penchant for two-tone footwear and bow ties dates back to high school, although the nuns at Saint Camillus Catholic School say there were obvious signs as early as fourth grade.

These fashion choices left Sean with very few dates during his formative years, so he had ample time to practice his guitar playing, singing and songwriting -- passions he acquired after leaving behind his highland bagpipes, much to the delight of the entire neighborhood. After much research, Sean realized that guitars could be plugged into amplifiers, making them even louder than bagpipes; the neighbors again put their hands over their ears, but this time their toes were tapping.

Cut forward to 2005: Sean Michael Dargan is the proud parent of a brand-new album, "The Big Picture" released on his Madison, Wisconsin-based Slightly Charred Records label. "The Big Picture," Dargan's third album, comes a scant eight years after his second, eponymous album, leading many fans and not a few noted music critics to muse quietly to themselves, "What the hell took so long?"

Sean wonders if those fans and critics kiss their mothers with those dirty mouths. He then points out that even the Beatles took some time off after "Let It Be," so maybe everybody ought to just calm down and listen to the new album instead of getting' up in his grill about the word "tardy" and it's many possible definitions.

Fortunately for Dargan, the new album is really quite good, with a palette of twelve delicious new songs penned by Dargan, and one fine tune by his old school chum, NYC alt-country mainstay Chris Bonner. The record springs to life with the opener "A Note from the Heartland," a relentless, up-tempo, true-story rocker in glorious three-part harmony. The album then holds you close for forty minutes, tucking you in gently at the end with "You're the One," a gauzy, lilting ballad that features those same highland bagpipes that we thought we'd escaped back in the second paragraph.


A Note from the Heartland

Written By: Sean Michael Dargan

Hey, you by the sea
Way out there in sunny California
You may remember me
I met you half asleep in spectacles
Waist deep in bicycles
Second night of camp: Black River Falls

You slept in the van
Two hours outside of Chicago
Drive as fast as you can
I never felt such giddy urgency
Damn all this geography!
Madison is a long, long way from Portland


We knew in a week
We made omelets in the morning
Rode around while the town was warming
Nothing says “hello” like a note from the heartland

The Big Picture

Written By: Sean Michael Dargan

I held the glass up to my eye
But I can’t find the target
No matter how I try
You swore it wasn’t hard to see
I believe that I’d be braver
If you still were standing next to me

I have walked this stretch alone
And I still smell the ocean
Every time I skip a stone
Now you’d walk again with me
I don’t know where you’re looking
I have never known just what you see

Take one step back…

My feet would find their way back home
Running right beside you
Or walking all alone
To pour the sand out of my shoes
A picture postcard morning
In November pinks and blues

Take one step back
Look at where you’re going
Take one step back
Think of where we’ve been
Take one step back
Try to see it coming back…

I don’t think I’ll ever find a day
Dawning quite so perfectly
As that we threw away
But in my mind I hold the scene
Standing on that beach there
We will always be nineteen

Take one step back
Look at where you’re going
Take one step back
Think of where we’ve been
Take one step back
Watch it now, it’s coming back again..

Paint a Target on My Heart

Written By: Sean Michael Dargan

Pull my shirt off in the cellar
Paint a target on my heart
Push me down to reach me better
Set me up to fall apart…

I collect these little things
You say they make you nervous
As if any little thing ever gets to you at all
You select these little rings
As if you could preserve us
Then you remain the only one to save yourself a fall

Pull my shirt off in the cellar
Paint a target on my heart
Push me down to reach me better
Set me up to fall apart

Feed my tiny hopes
Hungry to the marrow
Leave my little world lying fractured on the floor
Twist my favorite words
Till they rifle down your barrel
Wrap me up in ribbons, baby, shoot me out the door

Pull my shirt off in the cellar
Paint a target on my heart
Push me down to reach me better
Set me up to fall apart

Make an ashtray of my wineglass
Throw my records on the floor
Tell me gently with your chainsaw
You don’t love me anymore

Dodging bullets in slow motion
Till your feet don’t touch the ground
Instant rag doll with your penknife
No one ever hears a sound

I drew first but you drew faster
I drew first but you drew blood
Set the record straight, you bastard
You will never brave the flood


Feel Good Hit of the Summer (2009)
The Big Picture (2005)
Sean Michael Dargan (1996)
dance on the windows (1994)

Set List

1. A Note from the Heartland
2. The Big Picture
3. Paint a Target
4. Headed Back Out to Sea
5. Before the War (Chris Bonner)
6. Little As I’d Planned
7. Ride for the Roses
8. Cornerkick
9. If You Came to Me Now
10. Eyes Full of Christmas
11. Twelfth Night at Payne St
12. You’re the One
13. I’m Going With You
14. 53 Steps
15. Kid (The Pretenders)
16. See A Little Light (Bob Mould)
17. Sarah with an h
18. Lamplight
19. Can’t Hardly Wait (The Replacements)
20. What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye)