The Squares | Second Act

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Folk: Singer/Songwriter Rock: Americana Moods: Type: Lyrical
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Second Act

by The Squares

Like the songs that once fed our music-hungry souls.
Genre: Folk: Singer/Songwriter
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Speed of the Sound of Loneliness
3:31 $0.99
2. Baby Blues
3:57 $0.99
3. She Loves You
3:00 $0.99
4. Last Hard Man
3:52 $0.99
5. Country Song
4:34 $0.99
6. Crystal Waters
4:19 $0.99
7. Stay with Me
3:17 $0.99
8. Driver
4:26 $0.99
9. My Soul in Your Hands
3:46 $0.99
10. Blue Star
3:32 $0.99
11. Faithless Love
4:13 $0.99
12. Running out of Line
4:35 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Squares are a trio based in Cape May, the classic beach town at the southern tip of New Jersey. They consist of a woman and two men: Debra Donahue, M.Q. Murphy, and J.M. Kearns. Acoustic guitar, electric lead, and three voices that can sing lead or backup . . . harmonies galore.

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote that “there are no second acts in American lives,” but these three late-blooming baby boomers ignored him and exploded into musical life at a local open mic in 2011. Soon they were playing every Tuesday, and quite liking it. Maybe they were over fifty, but they had a rookie sparkle in their eyes and they had young voices, because live performing came late to their lives. Now their debut CD is out, and not surprisingly, it’s called Second Act.

In their music you’ll hear strands of folk, blues, roots, and rock, woven into songs that can be joyful, impudent, or poignant. They may make you think of John Prine, Lyle Lovett, Randy Newman, or Jason Isbell.

Who are the Squares? Or rather, who WERE they before musical alchemy changed their lives?

• M.Q. Murphy (from Philly) had been in a band long ago. He still played a Telecaster in his garage, and his notebooks were full of ideas. Were they poetry? Song lyrics? It wasn’t clear. Not until he started showing up with new songs, and they were stunning.
• Debra Donahue (from South Jersey) had sung in choirs for many of her early years, with a powerful alto voice. She loved folk and blues music, treasured the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and was a skilled harmony singer. Could she sing lead? Who knew – until she swung into a song called “Blue” and hit it out of the park.
• J.M. Kearns had been struck by the songwriting virus years ago, as a Philosophy grad student in Toronto. The songs had led him to L.A. and to Nashville, He had gained valuable experience, but day jobs had stolen his time and stage fright had done the rest. Clearly he too had unfinished business.

One gig led to another, and surprise: the Squares were having a blast, and audiences embraced their songs and their madcap stage banter.

But it always comes down to the songs, doesn’t it? On Second Act you’ll find seven originals by Murphy or Kearns. So, what about it? Could these seasoned souls write material with wit and heart and melody? Well, you be the judge.
Check out for example:
- M.Q. Murphy’s haunting tale of a lonely driver on the road:
“Some drive for a living, some drive to keep from dying / I could drive all night or I could give up trying.” (Driver)
- J.M. Kearns’ joyful song of love in mid-life:
“The sun’s setting on the waves rolling into the sand / And I’m wondering how I ever found summer again.” (My soul in your hands)
A Squares song can veer from droll humor to gritty honesty, sometimes in the same verse: “If I could drive at night, I’d surely go out and dance / If I could find the crease in these old flannel pants.” (Running out of line)

The trio’s choice of cover tunes also puts them “squarely” in a tradition that reaches back to the eloquent, lyric-driven folk-rock of the 60’s and 70’s. Listen to Debra Donahue’s tender vocal on the John Prine classic “Speed of the sound of loneliness”, or savor their re-imagining of the Beatles’ hit “She loves you”, which uncovers the poignant gem of a lyric. There are also covers you may not have heard before, like “Last hard man”, the chilling testament of a guy whose hound Jawbone pursues an escaped prisoner through a snaky landscape (penned by Nashville tunesmith Davis Raines). Or “Baby blues”, a sexy, jaunty number written by folk star John Gorka.

The Squares’ music reflects the real-life joys and travails of the human heart, with empathy and humor. You can keep up with their gig schedule, music, and news at



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