"Round here everybody is bleeding or everybody's filled with doubt/ Then out on the horizon, they say the truth is reveled/ Say the word, say the word, say the word/ And I shall be healed … Then I stood at an altar, the weight had caused me to kneel/Say the word, say the word, say the word/And I shall be healed" —from "I Shall Be Healed"

When Michael McDermott debuted on Giant Records in 1990, his yearning acoustic anthems earned comparisons to Bob Dylan, with some heralding him as the next Bruce Springsteen. Yet in spite of the critical acclaim, sales for 620 W. Surf never took off as expected. As a result, the troubadour began a streak of record label limbo, dropping 1993's Gethsemane on SBK, followed by a self-titled record on Capitol in 1996.

In addition to sound, McDermott's songs also resemble Springsteen and Dylan in that they sometimes bear a strong spiritual influence. It reflects his upbringing in the church, as well as his consideration of the priesthood.

"I grew up an Irish Catholic on the south side of Chicago and faith was instilled pretty early in my life," the singer/songwriter told Christian Music Today. "After high school, I thought about becoming a priest because I was pretty directionless, so I'd spend every day split between going to church and working in a record store. I began writing songs, singing, and performing, and that's where my cat and mouse game with God started. I began to 'tear down the temple' so to speak and lived out excess on the road."

Caught between the temptations of newfound stardom and the red tape of the record label, McDermott soon slipped into a cycle of alcohol and drugs. As he continued switching record companies with every album released from the late 1990s into the ...

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