Andrew Neil is a remarkable up and coming singer/songwriter from Charlottesville, Neil’s path has seen the singer battle many tragedies to record his first studio album. A path that began in 2009, when he sustained a serious head injury in a car accident. The confinement of lying in a hospital bed brought out the creative bug inside the singer to write over 400 tracks, even though he had no formal musical training. Unfortunately, the accident proved a catalyst for a series of psychotic episodes in his life that saw him diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder and complex PTSD. This all culminated in Neill being incarcerated in 2013 after such an episode resulted in him stabbing his younger brother in the arm, He was found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) and committed to a West State Hospital in Virginia. Neil wrote over 70 tracks and to self- produced an album entitled “Code Purple” named after an emergency call for patients. It was an album that made history as the only one recorded in a state hospital.
This all brings me to Neill’s first studio album “Merry Go Round” since his release from Hospital The album itself was released in September with comparisons to Elliot Smith, Nick Drake and Kurt Cobain. Neill writes captivating lyrics in this accessible album that is not short of intricately composed riffs and guitar solos, emotive singing and with subtle nods to those aforementioned musicians.
Divide and Conquer starts things off with this grunge- influenced track complete with a psychedelic and haunting riff that has Neil in a philosophical mood.
Merry Go Round is the title track that has similarities to Nirvana’s Nevermind era. Neil shows versatility with his songwriting here, creating hazy riffs. The backing band provide solace to Neil’s undeniable ability to write compelling music.
The album explores other themes and styles that feels like the listener on this emotional journey. I mostly feel impressed with how each track reflects the singer’s emotions throughout different parts of his life. This is something rarely experienced in contemporary music albums today.
I Wish is a gentle ballad stripped back from all musical components that is just a melodic track with Neill Singing from his heart with an acoustic guitar.
Tie Dye Dinosaur is another well-structured track that I feel looks at being an outsider. The catchy chorus will leave you humming for days. I liked how Neill’s voice seemed to mature and sound brighter. The intelligent songwriting is prevalent here an upbeat track replete with the melodic accompaniment of flute that feels like a positive new day.
Overall, I would recommend this album to any audience that enjoys intelligent lyrics, well-structured melodies and a journey through many trials and tribulations that lead to light at the end of the tunnel.
Merry Go Round is available via Spotify & Amazon now.
If you’d like to discover more music and information about Andrew Neil Maternick,
you can do so by visiting the official website
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