Album Review

Matt McGinn – Time Well Spent: Album Review

Matt McGinn returns with album number five entitled Time Well Spent. The LP is the follow up to the sublime Lessons Of War.

Released: 2nd January 2022

Label: Self Released (Bandcamp)

Format: Digital

To bring in the New Year, the ever-increasing number of new folk artists (at least to this writer) grows. Singer- songwriter Matt McGinn takes advantage of a positive COVID test to complete his album Time Well Spent. This album is full of positives too!

Traditionalists may of course not recognise his musical styles as folk music but like the new year, times-are-a-changing. 

The opening tracks take a personal look back at a previous relationship and appreciate the opportunity of a new relationship. Annie (Many Moons Ago) and Time Well Spent are both melancholy using simple but highly effective arrangements to musically warm us up for the more upbeat Something with swirling violin making full use of  the fingerboard. Next up is a Gaelic waltz tune entitled Lighthouse Joe which is swiftly followed by Me and Tommy, which  has a country feel and recalls a valued brotherly friendship. 

Without a heavy focus on big production the simplicity allows you to get to grips with Matt’s emotional songs. 

Kinnahalla returns to a Gaelic feel which conjures up the image of a balladeer somewhere in  a cosy pub and swaying gently along to the gentle beat with the solemn violin. Then, surprise surprise, we are frolicking in a Parisienne bar  in Le Ciel est Bleu, sung entirely in French, with obligatory accordion accompanying this cute catchy tune. Hands off My Summer continues the  joyful mood.

The most complex and  powerful arrangements on the album appear on Woman; Matt’s tribute to  treasured female  relationships, motherly support and sisterly guidance amongst personal  major influences. Time Well Spent concludes with another variation in style; a cheery sing-a-long type song again shows Matt’s versatility and skill at selecting the right tempo to suit his lyrics.

Matt has enlisted the support of excellent musicians such as Eliza Carthy, Damien McGeehan, Sean Og Graham, Niamh Dunne, Jon Thorne and Aoife Scott. Gathering their contributions in such difficult circumstances is an achievement in itself!

Time Well Spent is aptly titled. It’s the type of album that if you’re not sure what to listen to, you’ll find a song to catch your mood; it’s a totally enjoyable, refreshing and charming listening experience.

Whatever tortuous constraints are placed upon artists these days, Matt McGinn certainly hasn’t been deprived of his muse in recording these personal, reflective and sometimes whimsical tunes. At a time when our ears are sometimes menaced by doleful repetition in music, here is a singer songwriter who can blend a variety of  tuneful experiences to delight us. 

Watch the video for Something from Matt McGinn below. You can buy Time Well Spent exclusively from Matt Mcginn’s Bandcamp page here.

Matt McGinn: Official Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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