Tony McLoughlin is a man whose career regularly veers him between a collection of genres taking you on a journey from folk and roots and Americana and blues and everything in-between. These musical journeys are all built upon one thing and one thing only however, and that is the simple fact that anything he produces simply has to have soul.
McLoughlin has built his career on a foundation that brings true heart and soul to his music, his words, his music and his voice all combine in a perfect storm that presents you with songs straight from the heart. This has most recently produced his latest album True Native. It’s a tumbling collection of songs that drifts like a tumbleweed, ever rolling and gradually gaining both size and momentum. This in itself is almost a paradox within his work as there is simultaneously a sense of deep familiarity and involvement but also a sense of detachment and almost loneliness. Loneliness and isolation are almost par for the course in Americana and country music but with the way that McLoughlin presents himself, playing his songs with his heart on his sleeve it seems to clash with the sentimental nature he exudes.
This results in an interesting album that you find ways in which you can identify with some songs and not others. It’s a unique and beautiful element that lets you guess where the journey McLoughlin is taking us on might end up next. Within True Native he takes us through slow ballads such as True Native but juxtaposes them with dark and moody Bob Dylan-esque songs like Blood on Blood and then jaunty, hedonistic country rock melodies like Here Come the Wind. It’s a great journey that McLoughlin navigates you on with the greatest of ease. Slipping through the genres that have inspired him over the years like a knife through butter, he makes his name known across a wealth of platforms.
Sitting in a unique niche of his own that seems to sit somewhere between Bob Dylan and ZZ Top, Tony McLoughlin is a man with wisdom beyond his years and the musical abilities to match. With True Native he has once again pushed himself to new heights with a heady blend of rock, blues and more. You might laugh. You might dance. You might cry. You might just have a whisky. His is the most unique of mood music as you can find a feeling to match any mood all inside of the same song.
Review by Joe Knipe