Danette McMahon, No More Excuses Review


Danette McMahon, No More Excuses Review

by Stamish Malcuss

Danette-McMahon-CDDanette McMahon’s debut jazz album, No More Excuses, is a self-released collection of songs that represents a significant milestone in her musical journey. Released on January 26, 2024, this album is a testament to her evolution from a seasoned performer to a recording jazz vocalist and songwriter. No More Excuses is not just a jazz album, but a unique blend of jazz, personal narratives, and cultural commentary, inviting listeners into a rich tapestry of McMahon’s life experiences. Her powerful voice and heartfelt songwriting create an album that resonates with listeners of all ages, promising a timeless journey through music and memory.

Raised in Cleveland, Texas, McMahon’s musical roots were nurtured from a young age, culminating in a diverse career that spanned genres and stages worldwide. Her decision to focus on jazz reflects a return to her artistic passions, infusing her music with personal history and the broader influences of her extensive career. No More Excuses mixes traditional jazz with elements of blues, Latin, and pop influences, reflecting her versatile musical background. The album includes unique renditions of tracks like “You and Me” by Dave Matthews and “Wonderwall” by Oasis, reinterpreted through a jazz lens that highlights her creative arrangement skills.

Tracks like “Innocent Bystander” and “Don’t Pretend” delve into profound emotional and societal themes, showcasing McMahon’s ability to blend narrative depth with musical complexity. Each song has carefully crafted lyrics that convey stories of personal growth, societal engagement, and introspective journeys. “Life Goes On” and “Naughty Girl” stand out for their emotional rawness and vibrant musicality. The former captures the resilience required to perform amidst personal turmoil. At the same time, the latter offers a playful escape into a more audacious persona, both highlighted by impressive instrumental solos and McMahon’s compelling vocal performance.

The album reflects a fusion of cultural sounds, incorporating Latin rhythms in tracks like “Come Dance With Me” and elements of blues and classic jazz throughout. This blend pays homage to various musical traditions and showcases McMahon’s ability to transcend cultural barriers through music. As a late entry into the jazz scene, McMahon brings a fresh perspective by integrating diverse musical styles and thematic depth, contributing to the vocal jazz genre with her unique voice and storytelling approach.

No More Excuses navigates a spectrum of emotions, from the introspective sadness of “My Pity Party” to the uplifting joy of “Good Ol’ Days.” This emotional variety enriches the album, making it a compelling narrative journey. The album cleverly sequences songs to guide listeners through a story of personal and artistic evolution, from confronting past pains to celebrating newfound freedoms and dreams.

The intricate arrangements and quality of instrumentation, managed by McMahon along with skilled collaborators like Joe LoCascio, Woody Witt, and Andrew Lienhard, highlight a sophisticated understanding of music composition and arrangement. Recorded at Sound Arts Recording in Houston and mastered at Masterpeace Studio in Colorado Springs, the technical production of the album is top-notch, supporting its high-quality sound and allowing McMahon’s vocal prowess and the nuanced instrumentals to shine through.

No More Excuses is a solid debut in the jazz genre for McMahon, offering a collection of original songs that is as rich in storytelling as it is in musical variety. The album reflects McMahon’s lifetime of musical experience and commitment to authenticity and emotional expression. The album is an inspiring example of pursuing one’s artistic passions regardless of the stage in their career, encouraging listeners and fellow artists alike to live without excuses.



1 Comment on "Danette McMahon, No More Excuses Review"

  1. Thank you so very much, Stamish!! I deeply appreciate your insightfulness and so eloquently stated!! Danette

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