Kevin McCarthy 

Anchors Away (County Cork Music)

The traffic-hazard sign on the cover of Kevin McCarthy's debut CD -- a car driving off the end of a pier and plunging into a body of water -- is a real one County Clare, Ireland. A more appropriate road sign for McCarthy, however, would be Slow: Guitarist at Work. This 22-year-old from Mentor has mastered guitar work in jazz, rock, jazz-rock fusion, folk-rock, blues-rock, and just about every other genre in which the axe is the big-boss instrument.

McCarthy shifts gears continuously. Anchors Away begins with cool jazz on "Anxious," then drifts into Wilco/Son Volt territory for "Rest Area" and the title cut. Acoustic guitar and percussion vie for attention on "14 for Life." Rock and blues get their due on "Get Free" and "Suburban Blues." McCarthy's voice is commanding yet unemotional; his lyrics are simple, though impressive for a first effort. But it's his mighty skills on the guitar that make him one to watch.

Speaking of Regional Beat

More by Steve Byrne


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