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Save Me

Pat McGee

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Album Review

Like the Dave Matthews Band before them, the Pat McGee Band is a tireless touring unit from Virginia with a titular leader. But whereas Matthews' band pulls from a stew of eclectic influences, McGee and company produce a relatively straightforward brand of modern rock that's big on love themes and propelled by earnest vocals. Their clean-scrubbed (and if not Christian, then at least Christian-approved) alt-rock calls to mind such higher-profile contemporaries as Vertical Horizon. McGee is far from a newcomer, however: he has been plugging away since the mid-'90s when he released his first LP. (Coming into this album the Pat McGee Band had built up a solid grass-roots following through relentless touring.) In the past, there has been an acoustic bent to a lot of McGee's tunes. But on Save Me, McGee underpins his tunes with more electric guitar, propelling the euphoric choruses of most tracks with catchy guitar grind (see "Beautiful Ways" and "Must Have Been Love"). There's a willfully homogenous spirit at work here, but within the band's limited context (big, bright, innocuous love rock), McGee is a strong songwriter with a nice ear for hooks and a knack for surprising melodic turns and clever bridges. The Pat McGee Band is clearly not trying to reinvent the wheel (the band makes Coldplay sound simply avant-garde by comparison), but add enough production polish to make some of its pat gestures seem ambitious, if not grand. [The Kirtland reissue includes five unreleased, pleasant-enough acoustic tracks and a video for "Must Have Been Love."]


Born: 16 January 1973

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Richmond, VA-based acoustic jam-rock sextet the Pat McGee Band included guitarist Al Walsh, keyboardist Jonathan Williams, bassist John Small, percussionist Chardy McEwan, and drummer Chris Williams, in addition to titular singer/guitarist McGee, an East Coast favorite since the 1995 release of his solo album From the Wood. Upon forming in 1996, the group toured relentlessly, averaging over 250 live dates each year; their debut LP, Revel, appeared in 1997, followed in early 1999 by the live General...
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Save Me, Pat McGee
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