By Jay N. Miller
Like a lot of things last year, Chuck McDermott’s plans and preparations for a new album got torn asunder by the pandemic and resulting lockdowns. But in the case of the veteran songwriter, the forced reckoning and necessary adjustments made for a stunningly pointed piece of work, in the seven-song EP, “38 Degrees and Raining,” just released to all digital platforms last Friday, and available in physical form through chuckmcdermott.com.
The new EP is especially striking because so many of the songs and moods it expresses reflect the past year we’ve all had, when so many tried to refocus and concentrate on health and family and what really matters, and in some cases try to discover what does matter in the United States of 2021. McDermott has been releasing singles from the EP for a few months now, and none has garnered more positive attention than “That’s the Thing About America,” his simple anthem that looks at some of the conflicts and unachieved promise of this nation, and concludes our only salvation is in working together towards a better world.