I first saw Zac McFadden at a modest open mic at Grindhouse Coffee & Tea Co. in St. Clairsville, Ohio. It was a tepid Tuesday night and he was one of three performers to play. Sitting on a stool in a confined corner of the coffee shop, he sung with more than vocabulary, more than voice, but with vitality. McFadden makes folk rock and his cd, “The Shape I’m In,” is a musical merry-go round – you can partake in his pain at the bottom of the ride as he sets the tone and theme with “Vegas,” admitting “I’m just a foolish kid, a foolish kid in love.”
You can rise with his remorse in “The Shape I’m In,” where he clearly conveys “so yes, yeah you know why this game has got to end, in the way you began it, because I can’t deal with the shape I’m in.” He really hits a soft spot in the center of the cd with “Amen“: “You said you’d never leave me…you told God that you loved me, I told God ‘Amen. Today the sun hung low, the night came quickly again, tonight the stars seemed dimmer…Mary, tell me of Jesus. Mary, please tell me of him. Did the music bring him to you? Will the music bring me to him…someday love will overcome.”
You can hear his happy at the highest height and see his point with perspective. You can fall with his faults, all the while seeing the sights simply and serenely in your seat. His thoughts are thorough, his words chosen wisely. Zac McFadden makes you want to get back in line and ride his music repeatedly.