Published Jan 29, 2020It seems a little strange to be releasing your first solo album after 38 years of playing in original contemporary bands like the Skeletons, or running your own label. It is even stranger to be composing soft, acoustic instrumentals that are musically in no way related to anything from the past, but Jason McMahon is not afraid to scratch an itch.
Odd West is self-described as experimental music written for traditional family gatherings. This sentiment rings through with positive, happy vibes emanating from the major chords that are plucked, strummed and arpeggiated for the listener's comfort. No doubt that McMahon has chops, and the recordings capture the minutiae of detail in the fingers.
McMahon also has tuned his guitar to allow for more ambient relationships between the notes. Guest vocalists and whole accompanying bands complement the solo guitar pieces, shifting the tone toward a new age Americana vibe. While the musicianship and arrangements are stellar, there is nary a sad note to be commiserated over.
As advertised, this makes for nice safe background music, but without the presence of polarizing musical pieces, Odd West lacks an antagonist to shape the narrative. It's a movie with a happy beginning, middle and end. (Shinkoyo)