On the Download: John McVey

The Boulder-based singer-songwriter's third release was worth the wait.
October 21 2010, 1:00 PM

Album: Unpredictable

Artist: John McVey

Label: Self

Homebase: Boulder

Where to Find It: iTunes Store

John McVey takes his time. Though the singer-songwriter has earned industry honors (such as "Acoustic Artist of the Year" by the National Academy of Songwriters—now the Songwriters Guild of America), it's taken him a full decade to release Unpredictable, his third solo album.

McVey's laid-back approach to album releases carries over to his music. From song to song, the album flows unrushed, like a Sunday afternoon without an agenda. Remarkably, it never becomes boring. McVey, who works as a producer and engineer at Coupe Studios in Boulder, presents his songs with meticulous arrangements. Richly layered vocals, piano, and organ, varying guitar sounds, the ETown rhythm section, and McVey’s smooth yet lightly smoky voice create a soft rock, adult contemporary sound that draws worthy comparisons to Marc Cohen, Shawn Colvin, and Daryl Hall.

Even when McVey busts out a bit of funk, as on “The Con Man’s Easy Chair,” it’s booty-shaking in a recliner. Lyrically, he’s emotive, yet calmly joyful. On the opener, “A Little More Time,” he sings of love that can’t be contained in one lifetime. And on the piano ballad “Just Like Heaven,” he recalls a dream in which he had a conversation with Vincent Van Gogh. Perhaps the most standout track is “Lay Your Burden Down.” As the title implies, this is gospel. McVey leads a chorus of gorgeous vocals over a sigh and a foot-stomp beat. One could imagine Boys II Men or another Philly-based soul artist covering this song.