Marshall McLean is an alluring performer with a voice just this side of scratchy and a gift for capturing tiny, elusive moments in song. The singer-songwriter’s slow, intimate lyrical presentation envelops the listener in the kind of cottony embrace that’s stitched into the fabric of a cool, rainy day wiled away in a coffee shop.
To be sure, McLean is a bean-house performer, though one whose words are just as carefully crafted as the delicate picking patterns on his self-described “movement” song, “Ten Thousand Ways To Fly.” The subtly grateful “Eve,” one of several Missoula-inspired tunes, offers the impressions of McLean—who now lives north of Spokane, Wash.—on his first year of married life, spent in the Garden City. In a tender confession, he sings, “Hey Eve, I think we made it / I think we found our piece of Eden / and the fruit of our silence / is the things we’re barely speaking.”
Playful banjo, grounding bass lines and somber choral backing provide proof McLean is not just an able composer of instrumental music, but also of the emotional content it can be coaxed into containing.
Marshall McLean performs with David Boone Friday, May 4, at 7 PM at Liquid Planet. $5 suggested donation.