Toronto native Dan McKinnon won our Talent Search last summer and has been very busy ever since, being the winner of the artist development prize, the Amy Louis Grossman Music Scholarship, as well. He was also one of the runners up for our IBC nominee and introduced a couple of the new songs at that memorable playoff evening at Hugh’s Room. His new disc will raise his profile much further. After his self-titled debut EP in 2012, his 2013 CD, As Sharp As Possible, garnered much praise. The video EP Jook Joint led to his selection to the Talent Search finals. The Cleaner proves he has not stood still. He retains the power trio format armed with a wealth of new songs. The opener, “Storm” lets you know that in no uncertain terms, it’s a song warning everyone about a certain woman with a strong guitar solo. “Walk That Aisle” is a bragging song par excellence, with power chords to match. Its catchy arrangement features a slightly distorted vocal, a device he will use again.

An Albert King-styled intro leads into a very good slow blues, “17 Years” – that’s how long he’s been struggling in anonymity, an emminently bluesworthy subject. The chugging “King Baby” is another bragging song – don’t make him angry or else, with an even more distorted vocal to heighten the effect. “(How could you be so) Thoughtless” is another fine slow blues aimed at a departing lover. “(You’re gonna be) All Mine” concerns his plans for a girl he’s just met. It also shows he’s been listening to some hill country blues, particularly to Junior Kimbrough. “One Track Mind” is a very different song but on the same theme. “More Than Enough” is an attractive pop tune, a well-written love song. “Til You Come Around” is an even slower blues, rather effectively conveying how desolate he’s been since she left and that he’s hoping desperately that she’ll change her mind. “WOWOWOW” is a fast rocker to conclude, the title is his reaction to meeting a new girl. McKinnon is an excellent singer and guitarist, Aaron Carter on bass and Jon Foster on drums are all the support he needs. He may not be struggling in anonimity much longer. The CD Release party is at Burdock’s on May 6, tickets at www.danmckinnonmusic.com.

May 2018 - Jay Sewall
May 2018 - Michael Kaeshammer