Artist: Michael O'Neill
Album: I Like It Like That
Label: Sleeping Trout
Release Date: 01/13/2015
(scores determined by the editorial staff)
This is that relaxed and comfortable country rock that is done with musicians who are both professional and old enough to not need flash and dash to make it good. Michael Oneill has a voice that is as comfortable as those old boots you just can’t stand to get rid of because they are so broken in. His voice has that ring of truth in it; you just assume this man has lived the life he sings about going through all the love, loss and trials that are referenced in his songs, which are clearly portraits of his life.
Oneill plays that startling seamless blend of rock, country, and folk that might be grouped under the heading of Americana. I Like It Like That was cut with a collection of musicians with more chops then some bands that have soared up the charts for years. To mention a few: Johnny Lee Schell (Baby) plays guitar, Bob Glaub (Bob Dylan, John Fogerty) plays bass, Tony Braunagel (Back Street Crawler/Crawler) handles drums and percussion and Dean Parks (Steely Dan) on guitar and steel. They and the rest that are unmentioned here, combined with Oneill’s voice and songs, immediately strike chords recalling long forgotten nights; just listen to “Raise A Glass” or “Real Deal” and try to tell someone you know very well that you don’t remember those feelings.
There are certain words that raise red flags with those that read reviews; one of mine is when a voice/musician/whatever is called comfortable. Didn’t they take any chances? Are they dull? Should I trade it in after a few listens? None of those phrases fit in this case: I Like It Like That. is a vibrant, exciting disc in every respect. His songs are right there on the point and always breaking the right way.
– Bob Gottlieb