The Pagan Place Podcast

‘Michael M. McDonald – Drifter’s Alchemy’ Album Review

January 9, 2020


Michael M. McDonald – Drifter’s Alchemy

Released, September 2019

  1. Land for Cain 04:35

  2. Restless Heart Blues 03:58

  3. Ballad of Frankie Short 05:02

  4. Bootlegger’s Son 04:33

  5. Drive-in Movie 03:43

Drifter’s Alchemy, a debut EP from Michael M. McDonald, is a mixture of sounds that allows us wannabe drifters a brief glimpse into a life on the move. In true drifter fashion, McDonald, originally from Saint John, recorded this EP between Saint John and Montreal. The outcome seems to have made the trip worthwhile.

From the first note, it’s clear that this release is a labour of love. McDonald’s clean guitar picking and subtle blues harp are balanced perfectly against his story telling. His songwriting comes across as though he has been recording for years; this certainly doesn’t sound like a first release. 

These are gritty songs with some religious undertones that tell stories of hard work, hardships and fleeting love. Feeling as though they are from another time, these tracks bring traditional country blues sounds into the 2020’s. McDonald's compositions reflect the sentiments of the hard-working people of Canada’s poorest province. I can’t help but wonder if in some ways this EP is an homage to those that have to leave NB in order to make their way in the world. 

These are stories picked up by a drifter on his way to the next stop; written on the road while watching the world float by. Hopefully he will settle into a town near-by if only for a night so we can witness some of this live.    


Mood: Itching to hit the road with no plan on where to go

Flavour: Canadian Club -neat- in a dirty glass

Colour: Chip sealed country roads/ road worn denim


Oliver Flecknell

January 2020

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