Concert Review – Sean McCue with Michelle at SOhO

Concert Review – Santa Barbara News Press

By JOSEF WOODARD — NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT

Mr. McCue has a long history in Santa Barbara music scenes, going back to his old band Old Man, and then Summercamp, which was signed to the Maverick label for a few years. At SOhO, the assured performer, with a strong, clear voice and sense of the heart of a given song, channeled his back story by calling up songs from both those old bands, while also playing a fetching new tune, “Brightest Memories,” and other originals.

He also moved effectively into the cover song realm, with a faithful take on Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird,” and a more inventive, McCue-ized read on Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly,” replete with looping and applying a bow to his acoustic guitar. Incidental note: Mr. McCue and Mr. Petty have in common the fact that both have been victims of devastating fires, between Mr. Petty’s 1986 house fire and Mr. McCue’s studio having burned down in the Tea Fire.

Speaking of bowing, cellist Ms. Beauchesne played the ideal foil to Mr. McCue’s standard guitar-voice singer-songwriter context, serving as surrogate bass presence, melodic interloper and all-around expanded musical color factor. That was just one more pleasurable, unusual element in the mix on this SOhO Tuesday song night.