“I’m very nostalgic for the days of MTV’s unplugged, and I have always loved the combination of the rock ’n’ roll voice with acoustic instrumentation. I have dreamed of making an album in this vein for a long time.” Choosing his favorite songs from “Dreams and Imagination” (2014) and “Surrounding Colors” (2016), John McDonough has created an acoustic album that is upbeat while introspective, full sounding while sparse, and rocking in its intricacy.
With his songwriting skills honed and returning to his roots of being an acoustic singer-songwriter, McDonough’s 2019 release, “Can You See Me Now” landed on several American charts as well as gathered airplay and great reviews worldwide. Unable to tour in 2020 as planned due to the pandemic, McDonough used his downtime to focus on his guitar skills and the rearrangement of these older songs. “I felt the songs would really shine with the focus being on my words and melodies.”
While acoustic and sparse, “Second Chances” has a full, bright sound. Kris Farrow’s (Kyle Park, Micky, and the Motorcars) acoustic lead is intricate and engrossing as well as nuanced and tender. The strings add sophisticated beauty to the arrangements, and Cody Rathmell’s (Cody Bryan Band) backing vocals polish everything oﬀ with interest and energy that leaves you wishing the album would never end. McDonough has been disciplined and dedicated in the study of his craft since retiring from psychotherapy in 2011. This release is a testament that songs, and people, deserve second chances.
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