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William McCarthy - Shelter

William McCarthy

Shelter
Release date: 11 October 2017
Label:
Self-Released
Words by: Jenny Schnabel

With his former band Augustines, William McCarthy created three great pieces of work. Their debut "Rise Ye Sunken Ships" (2012) is a phenomenal album with heartfelt lyrics that dealt mostly with the death of his schizophrenic brother and mother. Their self-titled sophomore album (2014) shows the musical growth of the band and Augustines' latest one "This Is Your Life" (2016) is a melodic blast of bombastic indie rock anthems. But the music business is challenging for artists these days. It's very hard to survive. The band was really struggeling and the road they were on didn't lead to a good destination anymore. Three months after the release of their third album "This Is Your Life" Augustines callled it a day. After the split of his band, William moved to Berlin and spent three months in a grey and cold German winter. As the snow felt outside, William sat in his Berlin flat in Prenzlauer Berg alone with his guitar and started making this record. And as spring approached he returned to New York City, where he recorded his solo work produced by his good old friend and former bandmate Eric Sanderson. Alongside some other old friends, former Augustines drummer Rob Allen, Yannis Panos and former Pela drummer Tomislav Zovich, came together to play on this record.

So here it is. With no label and no big bang. His first solo album "Shelter".

The record offers a collection of covers, that touched William's heart plus a William McCarthy original composition. It shows a much quieter side of him. Relatively sparse musical accompaniment just employing a piano, a guitar, a harmonica, strings and drums. The only important instrument is William's incredible, earth-shaking voice. The album centers on his voice and the other instruments are just additional personnel. William really sings his heart out. Each song is sung by him with such emotions that come from the bottom of his heart. William is running through songs like "Moonshiner" by Bob Dylan, "Georgia Lee" by Tom Waits, "Two Coffins" by Against Me!, "By Your Side" by Sade and "The Rotting Strip" by Crooked Fingers. Also Pela's "The Trouble With River Cities" gets a great and well deserved rework on this album. There are many highlights on this record, but the two centerpieces of the album are the tremendous new version of the old Augustines' song "Rise", named "Still I Rise" here, and the McCarthy-penned "Time Ain't Always By My Side", a piano driven song of great beauty with a lot of soul that goes straight to the heart. What makes "Shelter" more than just a covers album is, that William has the ability to make the songs his own. Every song of this record feels like a William McCarthy song. And that is the magic of this record.

"Shelter" is one of those albums that touches your heart. It's a great collection of songs. A beautiful piece of music. Simply stunning.



Interview with William McCarthy

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