If the long drive to the Kent State Folk Festival is too much, Collinwood has top-notch folk on display this weekend, when singer-songwriter Pete McDonald will release the immaculate Here and Gone. On his second album, the Chardon-based folk rocker sings about the difficulty of being true to yourself when you still haven't found out who you are. Thankfully, he has a good support system in his friends.
Half the songs here are co-written by singer-novelist Elise Huneke Stone, who contributes understated backing vocals to the wistful "Your Own Way." In tunes like "Wearing the Blues," Dylan is a pronounced influence on McDonald's phrasing, as the singer-guitarist breaks out a harmonica between heavy-hearted spurts of wordplay: "I'm strung out on your strings and stronger stuff/And your tenderness just makes you tough/Oh, honey, I get so bruised/Baby, I'm wearing the blues." And the blues look good on him.