Black Music Matters Festival

Aaron McDonnell

Get Gone – 2016 (Independence)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Aaron McDonnell

Austin-based singer/songwriter Aaron McDonnell's third five-song EP release is a throwback to mid-'90s mainstream country with mostly good results. The better tracks recall Dwight Yoakam's work from that era including the opening uptempo "A Cold One" and the title track with some nice guitar licks from Matt Wiley. Perhaps the strongest cut is "I'm Broke" in which the singer remains audaciously optimistic amidst his troubles ("I'm broke, got a beer and I'm free/Life is good") in the spirit of Hank Williams' "Everything's Okay."

It's on the pair of ballads that McDonnell is hit and miss. On the effectively weepy "We Will Fall," featuring harmony vocals from wife Dani, McDonnell appears to have cheating on his mind ("If I were to say to you tonight/Just come over even though we know that it's not right"), but the desired romance remains fantasy ("Slide across the floor in this here dance hall/Farther into our make believe love affair we will fall"). Elsewhere the cliched "Keep the Home Fires Burnin'" is less satisfying, but also features nice harmonies from the McDonnells.

In addition to Wiley's nice guitar work, the musicianship is solid throughout with Bob Hoffnar (pedal steel), Morgan Patrick Thompson (bass) and Timmy Campbell (drums). With pleasant vocals and mostly strong material "Get Gone" reveals Aaron McDonnell to be a promising singer/songwriter.