There is a quality to Joel McNichol’s hushed voice that draws you in, provides a measure of intimacy. The crackle of a fire would convince me that he recorded out of doors. I feel crowded around the flames, a final drink in my hand, listening.
Whiskey-warm guitar tones are a wool blanket, a further comfort for these calming songs. The country sensibility of McNichol’s vocals rests over well-realized chords. His playing is not complex, but the chords are fully developed, played with a great conviction. I’m reminded of the hypnotically bare folk of early J. Tillman, the captivating depth of his chords. Country is a genre rooted in tradition and execution: there is so much to hear in the honest simplicity of these songs. I hope these demos are the indicator of a continuing direction: they could be the backbone of a great, great record.