Brendan's Latest Single...
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Growing up in the small town of Kapunda near South Australia’s Barossa Valley, Brendan McMahon discovered his love of music at the tender age of 14 after being “awed and floored” seeing Jimi Hendrix play on television; amazed by the sounds that Jimi could pull from a guitar and captivated by the iconic performer’s showmanship. Borrowing money from his mother (and paying it back at $2 a week) he promptly bought himself a $60 guitar and amp rig from a mate.
Initially wanting to be a glam-rock superstar in the 80s and 90s (think Van Halen, Kiss, Def Leppard), McMahon later transitioned to the more storytelling driven tunes of songwriters such as Paul Kelly, Harry Manx, Richard Thompson and Garth Brooks, artists that continue to inspire him today.
Spending his late teens and early twenties as a lead singer/lead guitarist in rock cover bands playing across Adelaide and country Victoria, McMahon honed his skills the hard way – in front of demanding Australian pub and club crowds. In 1998, and now bitten by both the songwriting and performance bug, McMahon released a 7-track EP called ‘Picture This’ with his band The Cunning Stunts. ‘The songs, mostly pop rock, now seem too cluttered and uninteresting compared to the music I write today, but I still love to listen to them once in a while as they bring back great memories.”
In 2015 and 2016, Brendan released the solo albums ‘Falling To Earth’ and ‘Marker 7-58’ under the moniker of Satellite Gods, and in doing so was fortunate enough to collaborate and work with some renowned Australian musicians including Peter Maslen (Boom Crash Opera), Jason Vorherr (Darryl Braithwaite), Bob Spencer (The Angels), Simon Hosford (Vanessa Amorosi) and Wilbur Wilde (Ol’ 55).
Brendan explains “I met these fabulous musicians through the recording studio I use (Soggy Dog Recording Studio in Upwey, Victoria). Not only did they contribute their instrumental talents to these albums, they also opened up my mind to new concepts and helped me understand the importance of ‘leaving space’ in the music.”
After supporting artists such as Boom Crash Opera, Russell Morris, Wendy Stapleton and The Chantoozies in Australia, Brendan released the LP ‘On This Fine Occasion’ in 2017, which received great reviews both locally and internationally.
“Whatever it is that makes his music just so amazingly addictive, the American audience is not only ready to take Brendan McMahon in as one of their own, but they’re ready to catapult him to a level of fame that he hasn’t already previously known in his already well accomplished and hard-fought career in this business.”
- Cash Box Magazine, Canada
“On This Fine Occasion is a collection of tracks which blends a variety of multi genres seamlessly to create a sublime absorbing listen.” – Indie Buddie
Around the same time, the EP ‘About Joe’ was released and promoted exclusively to the US market, again earning McMahon stellar reviews, and was followed soon after by a couple of live gigs in Nashville.
“This EP gets top marks” – No Depression
“McMahon’s personal style of songwriting discovers a new peak with this release thanks to his continuing refinement of the cinematic imagery powering his songwriting. ‘About Joe’ is an intensely human collection; Brendan McMahon doesn’t write about life as he would have it, but rather life as he sees it … it’s every bit as immersive as a full length release and one of the more substantive studio recordings I’ve heard yet in 2018.”
- Vents Magazine
“I am amazed by this music … It’s so beautifully written and full of stories, expression and peace. Listen”
- Beat Media
“A luxurious listening experience.” – Blog Critics
2019, and some 20-odd years after the release of his debut McMahon, who now calls Melbourne home, is gearing up for the release of a new LP ‘In The Moment’ – an album he feels is his strongest yet. Maturity, reflection and drawing on his personal experiences, his inspired yet refined lyrics again take listeners on a captivating journey.
Recorded with Steve Vertigan at Soggy Dog Recording Studios, and again drawing upon Australian music royalty in its creation – namely Dave Leslie (Baby Animals), Danny Spencer (Jimmy Barnes Band), Brett Kingman (James Reyne Band), and the previously mentioned Peter Maslen and Jason Vorherr, plus a string trio from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Sarah Curro, Gabi Halloran and Paul Zabrowarny), this powerful album embraces the essence of story-telling and leaves you thinking about the songs long after the last track finishes.
Having visited over 50 unique and varied countries over the last decade (McMahon and his wife share an extensive and adventurous bucket list), Brendan’s travel experiences, specifically his observations of history, cultures, people, architecture and nature are at the root of his creativity and songwriting. These themes again feature prominently throughout ‘In The Moment’.
The first single from the album ‘I Am’ proves that McMahon has always had an adventurous and explorative spirit. Ignited from a memory of a childhood attempt to run away from his warm and loving home Huckleberry Finn style - with clothes and food tied in to a hamper at the end of a stick. McMahon tidied his room in anticipation of a clean getaway, opened the escape hatch (his bedroom window) – and realised it was cold, dark, windy and raining outside. So the escape adventure was put on hold, but the itch to travel had been lit.
‘No Rush Today’, track five on the album was written on Mo’orea Island in Tahiti (French Polynesia) and is about the marine wildlife, the island itself and the backdrop of the mountains that appeared to resemble the shape of a dragon, while ‘Tethered’ was inspired from a passage from a book written by T Lobsang Rampa, which motivated McMahon to travel to Tibet to explore the local culture in more depth.
From Bhutan to the Baltics, Tahiti to Tibet or Morocco to the Maldives, being able to share his experiences, thoughts and conversations during these travels is what continues to deepen and drive this talented story teller. ‘In The Moment’ is yet another fine journey to take with Brendan McMahon.