Erin McDermott

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Past shows

  • Nashville Nights: Erin McDermott

    This show was on Aug 30th, 2014 | 21 people watched
    3 Comments
    • Aug 31
      Fantastic! First time I have watched Erin McDermott in concert on the internet. Technically, the video at times was a out of sync from audio and we had a little difficulty signing on but other then that it was great. Would have liked it to be longer.
    • wjs
      Aug 31
    • Sep 2
      It was a GREAT!!!
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Bio

“… a deliciously new ‘sista voice’ … a rising star.” —Odessa and Settles Connection
“A unique voice amidst a sea of similarity … Her live show is an experience you don't want to miss!”
Stephen Mougin, Sam Bush Band
She’s a little bit bluesy folk. She’s a little bit jazzy soul.
With a voice as cutting as Tracy Chapman yet clean as an Alison Krauss, Erin McDermott comes... more

“… a deliciously new ‘sista voice’ … a rising star.” —Odessa and Settles Connection
“A unique voice amidst a sea of similarity … Her live show is an experience you don't want to miss!”
Stephen Mougin, Sam Bush Band
She’s a little bit bluesy folk. She’s a little bit jazzy soul.
With a voice as cutting as Tracy Chapman yet clean as an Alison Krauss, Erin McDermott comes forth
with authenticity, vocal stamina and writing prowess that won’t be denied.
In addition to her haunting vocals, she has a knack for delivering stories in a song. Her 2011 debut
release, Time to Go, produced by Grammy-winning producer Brent Truitt (Dixie Chicks, Alison Krauss,
Dolly Parton), told tales of suffering, loves lost or murdered, and downtrodden souls lonely for home.
Nashville session fiddler Barbara Lamb credits the album with capturing her attention in a way few
albums have. “I find myself listening from top to bottom, then starting over,” says Lamb. “Erin's skill at
penning a song is mature far beyond her years. The songs themselves stand strong amongst the famous
songs penned in Nashville, but check out the fabulous musicianship on this recording. Killer!”
Erin has kept both pen and voice moving since her debut release and plans a fall tour and second album
in 2015.
The Muse
Expressing music and words – in some form or another – is a talent she comes by honestly. “My mother
has a beautiful voice,” she tells, recalling Irish lullabies before bed and music ever present in the house.
The writing, she says, came from her father, a writer and poet. “He is incredible. He worked for Conde
Nast and RCA. Like him, I use writing as a way to communicate with the world. It is easy to hide behind
your words, but you are still so open and raw. That fascinates me.”
Erin’s teen years found her deep in love with the music of the Grateful Dead. In truth, she’s still crushin’
on the Dead, calling Robert Hunter “one of the best writers of all time” and crediting her studies of the
Dead’s roots with leading her to bluegrass. Other influences include Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Patty Griffin,
Darrell Scott, Tim O'Brien, Chris Stapleton, Natalie Hemby and Buddy Miller.
When it comes to her own writing, she tries not to overthink things and gives herself time to cultivate
an idea. She isn’t sure why her songs usually come out as stories, but she’ll take it. “I also find it easier
to write from the male perspective,” she says. “I am not sure why I do that. Perhaps it allows me to
somehow connectively disconnect from the song if I am writing the story from someone else’s
perspective.”
Whether writing or singing, Erin loves the feeling of latching onto a great song. “A good song not only
touches me emotionally, but reaches the listener as well,” she says.
Don’t Hem Her In
Blending folk, bluegrass, pop and everything else as a bartender might blend a piña colada, “Erin
McDermott paints music with a broad brush,” says Mike Bub, longtime Nashville sideman and bass
player for 18 South and Ashley Monroe. “Her songs cross the musical landscape with stories from the
heart and universal appeal.” Refusing to be a slave to any one genre, she dubs her music a blend. “I’ve been influenced by them
all,” she says. “My live band has bluegrass instrumentation, but if I were to put myself into a category
it would be Americana (Folkass).”
Still, the kinship she feels to bluegrass is undeniable. She was an official IBMA Showcase Artist in 2012,
and since moving to Nashville the same year, has written frequently with Jon Weisberger, Tim O’Brien,
Brent Truitt, and other giants of the genre. O’Brien describes Erin’s voice and her lyrics as equally strong
and uniquely expressive. “Her characters come alive, and you get to know these real people by the time
the second chorus comes around,” he says. “Erin is a songwriter to watch.”
Choosing the Life
Erin’s love for performing goes back to childhood. “At age four and five, my brother and I would put on
elaborate shows for my family,” she recalls. “I would sing and he would do the lighting. I loved it.”
An epiphany came when she attended Merlefest in 2000. “That was life changing. Tim O'Brien and
Darrell Scott were playing on the cabin stage,” she says. “I knew right then, listening to them, that I
wanted to do this for real. I remember that feeling even now 15 years later.”
These days, Erin McDermott’s live shows are making a lasting impression of their own. Whether playing
for audiences at the World Famous Station Inn or at a small private concert at the Bluebird Cafe, Erin
radiates raw emotion. She’s played with Sutton, O'Brien, Randy Kohrs, Truitt (Steeldrivers), Byron
House, Shad Cobb (John Cowen Band) and other Nashville greats.
Erin’s live shows command respect, says Weisberger, who enjoyed watching Erin and her band at the
Wide Open street festival in Raleigh last September. “The whole band had it together, but she was
completely in command,” he recalls. “She did a great job of putting over some challenging material to a
casual audience, and not just holding their attention, but really winning them over. It takes a lot of
talent and ability to do that.

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