Sean McMahon is a versatile artist with an unmistakable style and voice that ring true across a variety of sonic landscapes captured in his highly regarded recording career to date.
Through the densely textured electric-guitar soaked alt country of Downhills Home’s Minor Birds and Wolves In The Woods, the sombre, sparse, bluesy hues on concept album Welcome to Gippsland, and the raw, dusty folk on Live At The Last Hotel with acoustic trio Western Union, McMahon has found himself many admirers amongst the Australian music community.
While his last album was described as a journey through heartfelt alt-country that beautifully conveyed a singer/songwriter’s love affair with the American songbook and a 1930's Kay guitar, his latest offering sees him move away from an acoustic, singer/songwriter approach, instead exploring a more eclectic blend of elements within blues, psychedelic country, folk, and rock'n'roll with his band the MoonMen.
His versatility as a musician has led to involvement in other projects besides his own over the last two years. In-between his role as guitarist for the esteemed Suzannah Espie and performing, co-writing and producing with new talent Jemma and the Clifton Hillbillies, McMahon continued to experiment and develop his ideas, writing, recording and occasionally performing around Melbourne with various musicians.
After eventually reuniting with members of Downhills Home (Josh Duiker on drums and Michael Hubbard on bass). The MoonMen hit Matt Walker's studio to lay down the basic tracks for 9 songs, before bringing in Ben Franz on Pedal Steel and overdubbing the finishing touches to the new album, Shiner.
Shiner is at times personal and reflective, at other times ambiguous and playful, but always loaded with poetic phrase and melodic hooks, all hung from the pickups of a 60's Harmony Rocket.
A true believer in the song itself, McMahon writes the kind of songs that more than hold their own and has the voice to back it up. Once again, he has delivered yet another set of exceptional songs.
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Artist photo by Tajette O'Halloran