It's sometimes a question worth not asking. In a ten-second sound bite universe, the question seems cynical at best. However, maybe the question is more of a challenge. Maybe it says that there is a lot of shit going on right now and things are hard to hear. Maybe you can't grasp the details so why bother to get them. Maybe it's impossible to grasp all the details. Maybe it's a swipe at an industry based on profit lines and cookie cutters. Then again, maybe it is purely cynical.
Ted McCloskey's third release "who's gonna listen anyway" may be his own ten-second sound bite with the minor exception that it lasts 45 minutes. It's a ragged man on the street saturated in rhythm guitars, rotating leslies, and political overtones. Each track reading like a vignette and sounding like a late night soundtrack to a daydream. One song running into the next like a night of channel surfing with a purpose. There is a purpose here. Its purpose is to be heard.
In addition to "who's gonna listen anyway", McCloskey has scored two PBS documentaries in 2005. He keeps an insane playing schedule working nearly 300 nights a year. His previous two albums ("one man misery parade" and "sixty cycle hum") have been successes both critically and commercially, and he has done opening slots for the likes of Ryan Adams and Sarah Harmer. He's probably singing somewhere tonight, but "who's gonna listen anyway?"
Review: 11/10/05 Centre Daily Times
After listening to Ted McCloskey's third and latest CD, "Who's Gonna Listen Anyway," I was puzzled by one thing: Why isn't this guy famous?
Local singer-songwriter McCloskey weaves a tapestry of musical styles into a distinct sound, combining his highly polished musical skills on guitar, bass, piano, organ, pedal steel, mandolin, banjo, percussion and vocals. All of this as well as his passion for music is evident on his newest release.
"Someone referred to 'Who's Gonna Listen Anyway' " as a late-night soundtrack to a daydream. I really liked that," McCloskey said. "There are a lot of things going on in the record, but in the end, it's all about the songs. I wanted to make a very direct and raw record."
The result is rather cool.
McCloskey penned all 13 songs, and after six months of work and recording, the CD was complete.
"I had just finished doing a soundtrack to a PBS documentary, and I wanted to write and record some songs. It's completely different writing. With writing songs, you have three minutes to say everything you want to say," he said. "You have to get to the point much faster."
When McCloskey is not busy creating soundtracks, he can be found almost 300 nights a year performing. In between all this, he still finds time to write and record his own music.
"This is my third record, and it was by far the most fun to make. it was very easy compared to the others. I like the fact that a lot of the songs can be interpreted different ways. I like the fact that there are some political overtones in it without it ever turning into a soapbox record," he said.
The CD is a musical blend of soulful rock peppered with pop and a dash of the Rolling Stones, Wilco, Beck and the Beatles. The Stones influence can especially be heard on "Jet Set Suffragette," a guitar-driven, pounding tune that screams to be played again and again.
Another track that stands out is "Green," which features a laid-back, smooth vibe, while "Church with the Neon Lights" radiates an almost hypnotic style.
The bittersweet and hauntingly emotional track "Enough to Make Angels Weep" is perhaps the best song on the CD.
"There are two versions of lyrics in that song," he said. "The second part was written just as the record was being finished. They are very much about the Katrina-New Orleans situation. I had two versions of lyrics but I couldn't choose between the two, so I had to figure out a way to make each version different but somehow connected."
"Who's Gonna Listen Anyway" is chock full of creative, original music, something McCloskey strived for.
"I think there's something familiar to it, but hopefully there's also something very original to it. That's probably the best anyone can hope for."
Check out the artist's website:
1. Jet Set Suffragette
2. Also Unknown As
3. Someone Took Away Your Microphone
4. A Little Mystery
5. The Church With Neon Lights
7. The Great Inbetween
8. Hey Kid
9. The Sun Behind the Wall
10. Microscopic Pieces
12. Formally Today
13. Enough to Make the Angels Weep