Review: Sean McConnell “The Walk Around EP”

Occasionally, even a jaded music journalist is caught off guard. A few weeks ago, our business office received a rather average-looking EP from a new artist named Sean McConnell. On the cover of the EP, McConnell is wearing what appear to be vintage Ray-Bans and a facial expression that makes him seem somewhat aloof - almost like he's hiding something. After pumping up the volume and waiting to be underwhelmed, Sean McConnell's secret was revealed. The magic moment he opened up his mouth, Sean McConnell unleashed his massive lyrical and vocal skills.
The first track of Sean McConnell's “The Walk Around EP” is the terrific "Hold On" which begins with a quiet intensity and slowly builds to a crescendo worthy of the best country and rock musicians. The lyrics are bold, and the tune has a contemporary rock vibe with a great melody. McConnell's songwriting talent is mind-blowing upon first listen, but a little research shows that Sean McConnell has written songs for Meatloaf, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisely, Wade Bowen and the Randy Rogers Band. Plus, this Boston, Massachusetts native, who grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, comes from a family full of musicians.

The second track "Say, Say, Say" offers brilliant lyrics, and the vocal performance sparklingly channels a Nashville version of Gavin DeGraw. The title track "The Walk Around" is a country rock gem that is an ode to Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. It's sure to be a concert crowd-pleaser.

The biggest surprise of the EP is the passionate "Reckless Love." Sure, we just learned that Sean McConnell is a great songwriter and country rock singer, but ballads truly strip vocalists naked and allow listeners to fully examine the range of a singers' vocal abilities. "Reckless Love" proves that Sean McConnell has great chops. As we say in Texas, this guy can "saaang."

"Bob Dylan (They Say No)" is a more experimental Ben Folds/Jason Mraz-style cut that shows the more quirky side of Sean McConnell. This track could be a hit on college radio and even garner mainstream radio airplay as well.

Besides "Hold On," Sean McConnell's finest moment comes on the track "Our Love And Our Souls." McConnell, who has probably earned a good living writing songs for major major music acts, opens up his heart and lays bare his emotions about the true meaning of life: "Money is just money. It comes and it goes...Ain't nothing last forever, except our love and our souls."

"The Walk Around EP" is an exceptional musical study that gives a well-rounded glimpse of the complexities of Sean McConnell's diverse personality and musical talent. It takes some artists two or three box sets to give us as much heart and soul as Sean McConnell presents in only 23 minutes. Buy it. Or better yet, download it now and get a ticket to his live show when his busy tour schedule stops in your town. CountryChart.com

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