John McGrail | Stained Bliss

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Rock: Modern Rock Folk: Modern Folk Moods: Type: Vocal
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Stained Bliss

by John McGrail

Rock and Folk tossed in a blender with additional stylistic spices.
Genre: Rock: Modern Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. All Our Fallen Tears
4:40 $0.99
2. Anger
4:05 $0.99
3. Aryan Nation Man
4:23 $0.99
4. Cold Today
3:29 $0.99
5. One By One
5:18 $0.99
6. I'll Not Be Fulfilled
2:39 $0.99
7. Fallen Angel
6:07 $0.99
8. To His Knees
6:23 $0.99
9. Don't Make Me Stay
3:50 $0.99
10. 90 Year Old Man
7:51 $0.99
11. Sons of Abraham
4:23 $0.99
12. You
6:26 $0.99
13. All Stays the Same
5:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
PLEASE NOTE: All Profits From My Album Sales are donated to Charity.

The latest release by John McGrail finds our hero exploring new territory musically and lyrically. The political is still there in bits. Don’t expect that to go anywhere anytime soon. After all what do you expect a man in love to write about—love of course. A man pissed off about the direction his country is going.... well you can probably figure what he would write about.

This time round there is more. Prejudice, religion, aging, despair, even love! Yes even love. All pretty happy things. Then again life while good, is not a bowl of sherry, or scotch or even Guinness, so don’t expect it to just roll out in front of you with everything just as you wished, all warm and fuzzy. Things don’t always go the way you want them to. Roll with it. It could be worse. It could be much worse. If you don’t live in Bagdad be thankful, if you have enough to eat, be thankful, if you have a roof over your head be thankful. If you have friends who love and care about you... well you get the drift. This music may be more about the stain than the bliss.

Ahhh...Stained Bliss.

What is meant by that? A happiness that is tainted. A good life with imperfections.
Stained Bliss.

A beautiful world where your leaders scare you into submission. A beautiful world that makes you angry. A beautiful world filled with prejudice and hate. A cold world an impersonal world. A world that ain’t really paying attention.

A world filled with failure and disappointment. When you want to do good but fail. When you are cast down and discarded. What do you do when you are at the end of your rope.

Where do you turn in a world such as this. If you could only get out of it... if only. But you go on and on and on.

Stained Bliss.

And the world continues to do its best to explode and destroy itself. There are those who are near you who love you and whom you love, they keep you strong and help you continue on. Although deep down you are afraid that nothing ever changes.

Stained Bliss.

Still you keep on knowing that to quit... is to fail. Something must be right for you continue on. In fact much is right even though much is wrong. It is beautiful and yet there is that other side, the dark side. There are the people you can’t live without and then all the others.

Stained Bliss.

In the long run it’s worth the effort isn’t it??????
Stained Bliss.

In his home town of Cleveland they call him a folkie. Is that really accurate. Sure when he performs in concert it is predominantly an acoustic guitar and his voice but does that make it folk music? Is the opening cut “All Our Fallen Tears” a folk song or “One By One” or “You”?. Since when have power chords been part of the folk music scene? Yes there are songs that might fall into that medium. Delicate songs like “Don’t Make Me Stay” or “To His Knees” or “All Stays the Same”. Perhaps the socio-political nature of some of the songs like “Aryan Nation Man” and others would be of a folk leaning but when the song is in 5/4 time what does it become then? Can you see Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger or Bob Dylan playing this stuff? Probably not. So is it folk?? Who folking knows and does it really folking matter. Not to John. He just wants to make his music. He will do it the way he wants. He will make it so it sounds the way he wants it to sound. At that point he hopes the world will appreciate it. If it doesn’t well, he may be disappointed, but his life is no worse for the effort. An artist has to make one’s art, regardless of medium, and then hope for the best. If one does that then one can be happy.

John McGrail
Stained Bliss

On his latest disc, singer/songwriter/guitarist John McGrail weaves strands of rootsy folk-rock, blues and country with twittering percussion, droning guitars, ambient sounds and eerie, often heavily processed vocals. He covers some adventurous sonic terrain here, roughing up or expanding upon relatively simple melodies, sparse arrangements and raw production, and mixing them in unexpected ways to create an edgy sound on tunes that deal with sober topics ranging from racism to aging and death. "All Our Fallen Tears" opens with a flurry of sound effects before resolving into the song. The disorienting "Anger" juxtaposes violent lyrics with an almost deadpan vocal, plush harmonies and delicate music. Rattling percussion gives "One by One" a noisy bounce until it wraps up with some quiet acoustic guitar. Other songs feel positively ancient. The stark, a cappella "I'll Not Be Fulfilled" feels like a newly discovered traditional mountain ballad and "90 Year Old Man" exudes a mournful blues vibe. — Anastasia Pantsios, The Cleveland Free Times

Stained Bliss
John McGrail

What does one make of the title to John McGrail's latest disc, Stained Bliss? From the artist's mouth: "A happiness that is tainted. A good life with imperfections." Works for us and, apparently, for the host of characters who wander through McGrail's dusty tales. The singer-songwriter and guitar maestro entwines experimental flair and indie-rock pathos with jangly folk rock, greasy blues and haymaking country on this winner. But like his compatriot Susan Weber, McGrail is not content to stop there, making those styles hauntingly ethereal. The bluesy "90-Year-Old Man," "Fallen Angel" and plaintive "To His Knees" definitely have the ghosts of others in them; the jangly warmth of "All Our Fallen Tears" feels like an old friend and a campfire in September and "Anger," which offers decidedly lo-fi indie-folk vibe with its nods to Dylan and Ochs...? Well, it offers numbness in the face of stark, raving violence. Credit where it's due… this is a great, chilling recording from someone who has managed to stay below the radar in Cleveland. To be fair, McGrail isn't for everyone... but when a songwriter makes you wonder if it's his heart or the blood from someone else's on his sleeve, well, that's gotta be worth something.

From Cool Cleveland Managing Editor Peter Chakerian



to write a review

Kate Slyzowski

Wow, I got the disc at a show of his. Live he's excellent but this album is something else. You really get the whole idea of what his music is like. Great voice, lyrics and he plasy the hell out of his guitar. I think I'll try some of his otehr stuff too.

Judy Taboreski

Amazing! 6 stars if I could.
I saw John in Fort Wayne over the weekend at the Firefly. It was just him and his guitar and he was excellent but this album is just fantastic. It's dark but that's not a negative. The arrangements and vocals and songs. It all blends so well. He didn't play "To His Knees" a the Firefly and its probably a good thing it brought me to tears, that would have been embarassing in public. Other highlights "All Our Fallen Tears, fallen Angel, All stays the Same... heck there isn't a bad song here. I hope he comes back sometime.

Natalie Hayes

Can I give 6 stars
This is just another great album by this man. It's deeper, more thought provoking and more beautiful then anything he has done so far (and I LOVED his 1st two discs.) Whether its the rocking opener "All Our Fallen Tears" which seems aimed at this administration (in my opinion) or the heart wrenching "To His Knees" a song of love as few could write This is one hell of an album. Plus you get to hear what a great guitarist he is. Solo on "Anger" is chilling and then there is the Bluesy 90 Year Old Man. God I wish he'd put albums out more often. This deserves a Grammy not that Whinerhouose chick. Awesome.

elton fontaine

He does it again
Man if McGrail were in major league baseball he'd be under suspicion for steroid abuse. Everytime he puts out another album, he knocks it out of the park. This one's a little darker for sure but man...the arrangements, the playing, and his voice sounds better than ever. Wish I could give it 6 stars!!!

Ann Coudreaux

I saw him play at an east side coffee shop. Geez is he good. It was just him and his guitar so I bought his latest album... WOW! He touches on so may things that move me and the music he writes is incredible. I have never heard an independent musician sound this good---Never! As soon as I can save some money I'm getting his other albums.

Amy Pinzone

Really Excellent
This is a great album. He plays the guitar well, his songs are intense and well arranged and his voice is something you just have to hear. There's an acappella piece that just brought me to tears. Fantastic.

bill fliarg

Great lyrics melodies and arrangements.
I was eager to hear this having purchased other music by him. Now that I have it I got to say this is the best thing he has done to date hands down. It's good to find musicians out there like John. It keeps me hopeful that the music of the world isn't going the way of Brittany Spear and that junk.

hank wait

Can I give a 6th Star, Please
This is a fantastic album. All the songs are excellent individually taken but the album as a whole is seemless. When I put this on it's over before I know it and I want it to go on and on. I love finding independent artists like this. I mean this guy is a major talent but who has heard of him. The topics he touches on from religion, to aging and death to politics. He doesnt' beat you over the head with it either. And then there is his guitar playing. His style both on the acoustic and electric are singularily unique. He can rip it up or sooth. He can pick and he can lay a screaming lead on you. And then there is the voice. Otherwordly at times. Just amazing.