It's always interesting to see what eventuates when a metalhead divests the sturm und drang to go for more fundamental forms. Rick McGuire, once a shredmeister, found himself early attracted to the power and adamant presence of AC/DC and Metallica (who wouldn't be?—great bands!) but decelerated when discovering Dave Matthews and others, interesting himself in more heartfelt sensitivities and beautifully lamentive melodies. In that, then, there's also a bit of Pat Magee and Chris Spheeris to him, mellow aftertones softly imbued with the gently mystical.
Dust and Tears is the gent's third release and one which found him shedding past backing bands to concentrate on a two-man effort, adopting Donnie La Marca on keys, strings, and "interesting sounds". McGuire sings, plays guitar, bass, and drums, but his voice is what's most compelling, a throaty presence greatly tempering the intensity of his metalline past in order to invest these soft-ish cuts with a glow and intensity that's deceptive and alluring. The cuts are all written by him, and the guy knows how to embellish himself, La Marca coming in behind to billow out the atmospherics. In tracks like "Hero", however, hints of the old days peek out during the lively guitar solo, making a great contrast.
Here's what I finally decided in listening to this CD: Dust is what I long ago wished John Cougar Mellencamp would've produced in his string of LPs. That cat had it in him but decided to be Springsteen Mach II and, though commercially successful in whatever it was he ended up creating, never really impressed as an artist. A chart propitiant, sure, but original and soulful? No. McGuire is 100% there in each and every track, convincing and compelling. Not a song is ignorable, each one possessing a dusty golden sincerity that blends country rock with a strong modern folk bent. Radio ready? Oh hell yes. Durable? Most definitely.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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