Fergus McCormick

Jumping the Gun

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New York City's folk scene has something in common with its hip-hop, alternative rock, jazz, salsa, and merengue scenes: it's crowded -- insanely, unbelievably crowded. And anyone who doubts just how crowded it is should spend a night at an open mic in an East Village coffee house, where singer/songwriters are lined up down the block for the chance to play a few songs for the tip jar. But despite that crowding (or overcrowding), many of the Big Apple's talented singer/songwriters persevere -- and in the early to mid-2000s, one of more noteworthy ones was Fergus McCormick (originally from New Jersey). Drawing on influences like Neil Young, Bob Dylan (minus Dylan's political leanings), and James Taylor, Jumping the Gun is a likable folk-rock effort that could also be described as Americana with British references. While most of McCormick's influences are from North America, there are hints of British artists as well; the late Nick Drake immediately comes to mind, as do the Beatles. No, the Beatles weren't folk-rock per se, but that doesn't mean that elements of their sound cannot influence a folk-rocker like McCormick. The recurring theme on this CD is McCormick's ongoing search for love -- a search he describes, in elaborate detail, on "Is It Over?" and "The Queen of Star 69" as well as "I Saw Her on Monday," "Girl in the Country Jeans," and "My Heart, Hold On to Me." It isn't an easy search; the search for love, McCormick reminds you, can be challenging and frustrating. But he keeps searching anyway -- and while the album has its share of melancholy moments, McCormick isn't devoid of hope or optimism. Jumping the Gun falls short of remarkable, but it's a pleasing, worthwhile example of what the Big Apple folk scene can offer in the 21st century.

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