The Westies (from the album Six on the Out) - The songs of The Westies are rolling stories, tales caught up in the bustle of a big city, characters sucked into the undertow of their own decisions. Six on the Out continues to present the words of Michael McDermott, his growl fermented in the bars of New York City neighborhoods, stretched thin and exercised on trying to be heard over the chaotic roar over a local bar. Musically, The Westies underscore the stories with churning rhythms that seem to have no end. The beat quietly keeps order as guitar and fiddle notes invade and tease “If I Had a Gun” into action as the rhythm relies on zealous acoustic guitar chord to hold on until the story gets tractions in “Once Upon a Time”, and takes in and out breaths to keep time under Heather Horton’s desperately whispering for a last chance in “Like You Used To”.
The story of The Westies plays out like the lives on the edge of a chance or tumble in their songs. Main conspirators for the band, Michael McDermott and wife Heather Horton, met in a bar, putting the wheel in motion that would take them into The Westies debut, West Side Stories. For Michael McDermott, it was another step towards a calling that he sums up as ‘all I ever wanted to do was write songs and tell stories, like my grandparents and parents did from a long Irish lineage. With that lineage came a proclivity for drink, for mayhem, and a wee bit of crime. I write what I know and what I know is, much of the time, ugly’.
The characters in the songs of The Westies are not barflies standing on the last rung of a downward climb. The men and women that walk the halls of Six on the Out live hard lives with no interest in changing what they hear, see, and experience on city streets. The “Sirens” heard signal a life that slowly erodes, institutionally taking away pieces from a man with nothing left to lose. Grim reality rides the waves of rhythm as The Westies ground the songs with foundations sturdy enough to hold on tight to the freight train rhythms riding under “Pauper’s Sky”, counts time on percolating notes claiming “This I Know”, and raises a glass to the security of old friends singing along to “The Gang’s All Here”.