The first thing that grabs your attention is the VOICE, a baritone that brings to mind Tom Rush of folk fame, but also Tom Russel, who bridges country-rock. McGinley is smoother than either T.R., much like triple distilling makes Jamesons' such a smooth whiskey. Next, you're taken in by the lyrics- no sappy love songs here. These words conjure up images of places you've been to, or wished you'd been to; situations you've been in, or dreamt of being in; loves that you've had, or lost. (My experiences along the latter would be entitled "Camaro", but McGinley's song "Queen D'Ville" sounds like just as much fun, and is the one country-rocker on the recording.) "Millie's Stop and Dine" is Everyman's Diner, and after a few listenings, you know the characters by name. These two songs show the range of styles McGinley has to offer, although ballads dominate Old Man Romance. The lead off song, One Way Street, along with End of the Light, are my favorites, and all ten songs flow well together, whether you play them in order, or use your "shuffle" option. Don't label McGinley as New Country (I hate that term) or folkie-just file him under "M", and let it go at that. Production is flawless; instrumentation is sparse, but the occasional cello and background vocals (provided by Donna Martin & Rosanne Raneri) are tasteful.
Luckily, no over-zealous sound engineer had the impulse to throw in dueling fiddles. No synthesizers need apply, either. Wise move to let McGinley's voice dominate.
Everyone could use this recording in their collection; you can get cozy with so meone with it, you can wallpaper the bathroom to it, or it can be background music while you do your taxes. To close, I must admit that, although Patrick is a local artist in my geographical area, I didn't realize he lived just one town over, so I called him up one night. Found out he's got 5 new songs on a cassette, hoping for a new release in early '96, and he's off to Europe for awhile. So pick up Old Man Romance, and you can tell people you knew of him before he got famous.