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Music Review: Lee MacDougall – If Walls Could Talk

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When the Beatles came to the United States in 1964 to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York, could anybody have predicted the wave of British acts going viral in America? The British Invasion brought us artists as diverse as the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, and Dusty Springfield. Now, fast forward nearly 50 years. Since the invasion continues today with acts like Bobby Long coming out of London’s booming acoustic movement, could there be others waiting in the wings?

Of course there are more acts and they’re not waiting long! Lee MacDougall is the latest musician to come out of the London open mic circuit and find an audience outside the U.K. MacDougall’s link to Twilight‘s Robert Pattinson hasn’t hurt his popularity in the States either. His song “Falling in Love for the Last Time” from his self-titled EP (and his new album) garnered a ton of attention from Twi-hards when word got out it was written for Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. But we’ll get more into that song in a bit.

The eleven-song album is If Walls Could Talk and it was just released to coincide with his U.S. tour dates with his friend Rob Hargreaves, who provides guitar and backing vocals. Every song seems well grounded and written about relationships and life. The best part for me is the innocence and passion in each lyric, which seems very genuine. Hopefully he has better luck with the ladies than these songs suggest, considering that some of the girls in them seem to lie, cheat, and lead him on every other verse.

When I hit the second song on the album, “She,” I find myself really engaged. On the surface, it’s about a girl who has self-esteem issues due to an abusive father. “She’s beautiful I know / But she doesn’t know / She can’t shake her heartache / Her teenage dream has gone to waste / She’s beautiful I know / But she doesn’t know that’s the case.” He wants to get her out of the house and is willing to put himself in harm’s way to do just that. But the upbeat, almost happy beat and guitar strums neatly obfuscate the tragic story told in the words.

Later comes “Falling In Love for the Last Time,” and I can see why it might have been adopted by the Twilight community as Bella & Edward’s love song. It’s a warped love story about a girl the singer can’t have even though he’s in love with her and she knows it. She uses that little fact to torture him a bit. “I want to tell you a tale about a mess that I’m in / And it all starts with a girl / And she’s breaking up my world / She’s got these big green eyes and they’re as wide as the moon / Yeah they can take you to bed without ya leaving the room / I would kill just to be her man / She’s too cool to give a damn.” With a lazy, walking beat on a snare and a few strums on a guitar, you’re drawn into the story.

MacDougall explores more self-esteem issues in “This is My Story,” singing, “Flatter me and I will be yours forever / get too close and I’ll run.” It’s a classic tale of that person who attracts all the attention but doesn’t feel comfortable in his own skin. “This is my story who knows how it ends / Each page a memory of lovers and friends / Always a dreamer my life has no plan / I know I’m not perfect / My momma says I am.” Hasn’t everyone been here?

The arrangements are straightforward with mixes of guitar, piano, and drums, but it’s the lyrics that really capture my attention, with stories woven into poetry and sung with such conviction. That conviction should make him an instant favorite with anyone who loves a good love song. The ability to convey such an emotional connection will go a long way to win MacDougall more than a few hearts on his current U.S. tour.

For more information about Lee, his music, or his tour, be sure to check out his homepage at LeeMacDougallMusic.com. I look forward to hearing more from MacDougall in the future! The album is currently only available on his tour, but hopefully a few tracks will find their way onto iTunes soon.

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About Fitz

Fitz is a software engineer and writer who lives in Colorado Springs, CO, with his family and pets, trying to survive the chaos!
  • Shannon Rose

    Thank you for your review of Lee MacDougall’s “If Walls Could Talk”. I went to his first show at The Bitter End in NYC and it was amazing! One needs to see him perform live to appreciate the whole artist. His CD is fabulous, but watching him sing with such truth and heart makes even a reluctant listener, a true fan. I hope you and your readers get the opportunity to see him while he is on his North American tour, you won’t be disappointed! Thank you again!

  • Maria Pergely

    What a fabulous review of Lee’s debut CD. We saw him at The Bitter End in NYC on Friday night and the atmosphere was electric! First gig of his 2 month North American tour and he was absolutely amazing, but we already knew he would be! His stories are magical and the lyrics touch your heart. The venue was packed and we were all singing and cheering – I am so, so proud of him! Be sure to check him out on his tour. The links provided will give you all the info. I am so, so happy for Lee!!! Oh, just one thing…the lyric in “This is My Story” is “but my mum says that I am”. LOVE that song!

  • http://writer.fitzhome.com Fitz

    @Maria – Thanks for the lyric correction!

    And @Maria & @Shannon – hopefully I’ll get a chance to see him live at some point. :)

  • Maria Pergely

    @Fitz – I really hope you do get a chance to see him. He is just amazing and he’s very charming and funny, too!

  • Maria Pergely

    He will be in Denver March 24th!

  • http://writer.fitzhome.com Fitz

    @Maria – I’ll be out of town unfortunately. But I’m glad he’ll be here to share with Colorado folks. :)