Rev TJ

Question: What do you call a man who grew up with a folk and bluegrass musician for a father, played punk rock in high school, honed his chops in blues clubs, studied classical music in college, and defies categorization in his current endeavors?

Answer: Reverend TJ McGlinchey

McGlinchey’s debut album, Tell Me To Stay, is strongly rooted in American folk music, but the Reverend’s diversity is evident throughout, whether in the bluesy “There Was A Time,” the vintage rock ‘n’ roll of “Little Red Car,” the reggae-inflected “Too Much,” or the pulsating Latin romp “Oye Bella.” A successful album release show at World Café Live in January, 2012 was swiftly followed by airplay on WXPN, cementing McGlinchey as one of Philadelphia’s hottest new recording artists. But this multi-faceted talent had already spent the previous ten years building up a reputation the old-fashioned way.

Having grown up in Drexel Hill and Lansdowne, McGlinchey stayed in Philadelphia’s western suburbs to take his solo act to the open mic scene. During this time period, McGlinchey proved that the secret to networking is merely to put yourself out there and meet people. In Ardmore, he met the band Stillwillis, whose membership just so happened to include Hezekiah Jones, Chris “Griz” Grunwald, and Matt Helm. Out in Media, he met another developing artist by the name of Dani Mari. Within the following decade, all of these would become names to throw around in the Philly-area music scene – McGlinchey’s included.

McGlinchey started writing original material during these crucial years, his earliest songs eventually landing places of honor in his first album: “Little Red Car,” “There Was A Time,” and “Too Much.” The multi-instrumentalist began giving private lessons at Troubadour Music in Wayne, PA and eventually spent a few years studying music at West Chester University. But with the growth of his performing and songwriting, he had to make an album. With the help of a Kickstarter campaign and a lot of well-respected local musicians – including Hezekiah Jones, Griz, Kiley Ryan, Adam Flicker, and co-producer Andrew Lipke – the Reverend recorded and released Tell Me To Stay, a fully realized, fully professional, and fully independent album.

Going to the Philadelphia Folk Festival was a longtime family ritual for the McGlincheys, so imagine how honored Reverend TJ McGlinchey was when, in 2012, he won a Philadelphia Folksong Society contest to play that year’s festival. His Main Stage performance in August was nothing short of a dream come true.

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