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Grand Prize Winner and member of the 2010 Great American Song Contest Hall of Fame with "Dancin' in the Boneyard"

1st Place winner of the July/August 2005 American Songwriter Magazine Lyric Contest with his song "Iowa".

2nd Place winner of the March/April 2010 American Songwriter Magazine Lyric Contest with his song "Starlite Hotel".

Finalist in the 2007 Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Competition for Emerging Songwriters at the Kerrville Folk Festival, Kerrville, TX.

Finalist in the 2008 Wildflower Arts and Music Festival Performing Songwriter Competition, Richardson, TX.

Finalist in the 2008 South Florida Folk Festival Singer-Songwriter competition, Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Finalist in the 2007 Dave Carter Memorial Songwriting Contest at the Sisters Folk Festival, Sisters, OR.

2nd Place at the 2013 Tucson Folk Festival Songwriters Competition.

3rd Place at the 2012 Tucson Folk Festival Songwriters Competition

Placement on the Indie Artists Alliance Songwriters and Storytellers Compilation CD - Volume 2, with "Dancin' in the Boneyard".

 

REVIEWS FOR "LOVE BOAT TO RENO":

PJ Curtis, Grammy winner:
Michael is a terrific talent... a fine poet with a great 'lived-in' voice. I love it. Great story songs. For me, "Dancin' in the Boneyard," "Country Girl" (great atmosphere here), "Nightbird's Waltz" and "Rockabilly Saturday Night" are the standouts. And "Let's Pretend We're Strangers" must be the first tuba solo I've ever heard that made me stand in amazement! ...a truly superb work.

Heidi Fosner, Victory Review:
McGarrah is a storyteller. His tenor/baritone voice is compelling and convincing as he weaves his Americana tales.

Larry Hillberg, KVMR FM, Las Cruces, NM:
Top-notch song writing, excellent arrangements, and expressive, engaging vocals.

Radio Ranger, KOPN 89.5 FM, Columbia, MO:
I was on board with "Love Boat to Reno" from the moment I heard the first track.The sound engineer at a gig I was working was playing the CD to test the house system. I knew right then I had to have it. "Dancin' in the Bone Yard" is a mesmerizing song with cinematic images and great clarinet hooks baited with a vaporous ghostly violin... From the first tuba note and swing clarinet sounds on the title track, "Love Boat to Reno," it's obvious you're not on an ordinary journey... by the time the boat docks, you're glad you've been along for the ride.

David Cowling, AmericanaUK:
[McGarrah is] possessed of a voice that can tell a story in many different forms, from the Tom Waits lite of "Dancin' in the Boneyard" to folk, country and spoken word, he'll turn his pipes to any gentle genre..."Nightbird's Waltz" has a cargo of emotion whereas the title track is all about seersucker suited dandyism – he likes to play roles. He's the narrator on "Rockabilly Saturday Night" and on "Iowa" he shows that he can write ("the dust has blown her years away, stole the color from her eyes"), this tale of disappointment soundtracked by violin and viola stealing the show. McGarrah is a stylist – there's humour and emotion packed in with the role-playing.

Don Charles of D-Squared:
McGarrah’s songs function like an emotional spyglass, peering about the room and soaking in the significant details. He is an iconoclast in the Tom Waits tradition – often the point of departure is so skewed that you feel he’s taken you to the wrong place ("Love Boat to Reno"?). Then the poet does his magic and you realize he had you right where he wanted all along. And he can write a love song that will make you ache for it.