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Tampa, Florida, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Tampa, Florida, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Americana Roots




"Album Review: Mercy McCoy, Brighter In The Dark"

After more than a year of writing and recording with Steve Connelly at his Zen Studios, local outfit Mercy McCoy – made up of husky-toned vocalist/guitarist Stefan Scheuermann, guitarist Collin Ryan, pianist/organ player Eddie Entreken, guitarist (and sometimes bassist) Ed Woltil (of The Ditchflowers) and drummer/percussionist Justin Stoddard – has finally delivered a roots rock debut dosed healthily in heartland Americana spaciousness, Southern blues swagger and upbeat folk-pop luster.

Brighter in the Dark brims with warm poignant expressions that are battered and scarred, yet hopeful, healing and restless to trust all over again beginning with the breezy sprinting reconciliation and heart-on-sleeve expectation of “Born to Try.” The title track (first debuted on opens with finely-picked string melodies chasing deeper lowend notes that gain lush body with the emergence of earnest piano and strummed guitar, Scheuermann’s vocals taking on ahusky quality as he croons about the selfish act of rebounding with someone you don’t really care about to forget the one you’re having trouble getting over.

The album’s two most bluesy odes trail each other; “Black and White” is an easy-going ode with slide guitar twang, shuffling and driving rhythms, and a distinctive “Tuesday’s Gone”/Lynyrd Skynyrd appeal, while “Facing the Sun” propels forward with dusty, country-kicking muscle. A pair of love songs read like opposite sides of a relationship coin and also fall back-to-back; blithely romantic “Be My Spark” carries the chase and sweet flush of blossoming love on sunny folk-percussive rhythms, picked and plucked acoustic guitar and pitch-perfect multi-part vocal harmonies, while the melancholic blame-gaming and down-trodden confessions of “Spent on You” are carried on instrumentals that roil and sway like the relationship the lyrics allude to (“If money is time, why can’t you ever save / you’re spending mine, saving for a rainy day / but I’ve spent mine all on you”). The buoyant atmospherics of “Strange Dreams” bring Brighter in the Dark to a quietly sublime close with a mournful slide guitar passage and a few bright notes of harmonics.

Posted By LEILANI POLK on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 at 4:00 AM - Creative Loafing

"Album Review: Mercy McCoy - Brighter In The Dark"

Tampa favorites Mercy McCoy are taking a big step in their young musical career tonight. The roots-rock group, led by Stefan Scheuermann, is releasing their first full length album, entitled Brighter in the Dark.

Despite being the band's debut album, Mercy McCoy can already flaunt a pretty impressive resume. The 5-piece band has been featured as a 'Daily Discovery' in American Songwriter Magazine, and received a Top 5 finish in the 2015 Durango Sole Performer Competition. Most impressively, the band opened up for The Only Music Blog favorites Twenty One Pilots back in 2013. You may even remember their brief write up in this very blog just under two years ago, on the day of their EP release and eve of opening up for Bronze Radio Return. You can read that full review here.

This 10-track record by Mercy McCoy can best be summarized in the Americana genre, but I must admit that it hits multiple categories. Album opener 'Born to Try' is explosive and much more on the pop side. Early highlight 'Brighter in the Dark' is classic folk-rock. I even felt a bluegrass influence with the second track, 'Our Lies Came True,' reminding me most of Old Crow Medicine Show's 'Sweet Amarillo.'

Throughout the album, Scheuermann does a great job with the songwriting. The vibe is always upbeat, despite featuring some deeper lyrics. Scheurmann multiple times references uncertainty of the future, best displayed with 'Staying Young' and 'Fall in Line.' Overall though, the subject of the unknown next steps is trumped by pop hooks and the light hearted feel of young love.

The romance of the album is featured best on 'Be My Spark.' This folk number has strong visuals, correlating nicely to the title track and theme of the album - Brighter in the Dark.

The album's strongest track may be 'Spent On You,' which also claims the longest song at 5:49. This slow rolling chiller reminds me most of an old Wallflowers tune, with Scheuermann carrying the song on vocals. It also features a pleasant guitar interlude, very reminiscent of something Dawes would produce. For the record, Mercy McCoy has always reminded me of one of my favorites in Dawes. Any fan of this album should immediately give Dawes a listen as well.

In total, the 10 songs provided by Mercy McCoy give you a well rounded album showing off all the genres the band is capable of hitting. Mercy McCoy will host their album release party on Friday, November 20th at the intimate Hideaway Cafe in downtown St. Pete. The band is supported by members of Paint the Town Red and Boxcar Hollow. The show starts at 8pm.

Essential Tracks: 'Born To Try,' 'Brighter in the Dark,' 'Fall in Line,' 'Spent on You.' - The Only Music Blog

"Daily Discovery: Mercy McCoy, “Brighter In The Dark”"

MERCY McCOY (Stefan Scheuermann, Collin Ryan, and Eddie Entreken) is one of the finalists in the 2014 Durango Sole Performer Contest. Listen to the rock/blues/pop/americana band’s “Brighter In The Dark” below. You can also check out the video here.


SONG: “Brighter In The Dark”

HOMETOWN: Safety Harbor, FL


AMBITIONS: I would love for our band to be well-liked by both listeners and some of our favorite artists. Success for me would be us getting to share the stage with some of the best currently touring acts that inspire me like Dawes, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, or Wilco. In that dream world, in between touring, I’d like to run a company that helps small bands with no resources get a good start.

TURN-OFFS: People that chew really loud with their mouth open… It’s like nails on a chalk board!.. I probably do it to, though…

TURN-ONS: Great harmonies, Dobro, Smart women


Big-Show Dream Gig: Lollapalooza, a couple slots before the headliner, with some awesome artists sitting-in with us. Maybe Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes, Norah Jones, or Gavin Degraw.

Small-Show Dream Gig: Sharing a bill at the Ryhman with Norah Jones, Amos Lee, & Jeffrey Foucault.

FAVORITE LYRIC: “If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts.” – Counting Crows

CRAZIEST PERSON I KNOW: Our old drummer, Jake. This guy is as nice as they come, but also as spontaneously-nuts as they come. The first time he showed up for a real band practice he disappeared before we even got started. We found him skinny dipping broad daylight in the pool behind the house…

SONG I WISH I WROTE: “Let The Blue Skies Go To Your Head” – Jesse Terry

5 PEOPLE I’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH: (1) The person that takes on new artists at Secret Road Publishers. (2) Keb Mo (3) Lyle Lovett (4) Jakob Dylan (5) Norah Jones (I wouldn’t complain if it was just Norah…)

MY FAVORITE CONCERT EXPERIENCE: I’ve seen a lot of great acts and had a lot of memorable shows: I’ve met Willie Nelson, I’ve seen Keb Mo solo in a beautiful music hall on my 21st birthday, had my face happily melted by the black keys, and had beers with North Mississippi All Stars back stage– but out of them all, for whatever reason, I haven’t come away more inspired than when I saw Dawes at the 2012 Gasperilla Music Festival. I’ve seen them twice since, and they get better and more inspiring each time.

I WROTE THIS SONG: “Brighter In the Dark” about the (selfish) act of finding comfort in someone you’re not actually interested-in, while you’re rebounding. You use them to help you fill the void left by the person you really care for, all the while retroactively earning the beating your heart took already by behaving so unfairly to this new person. They get attached while you become less and less emotionally available. When you try to sleep at night your guilt and loss can’t help but float to the surface. - American Songwriter Magazine


Brighter in the Dark - 2015

  1. Born to Try
  2. Our Lies came True
  3. Brighter in the Dark
  4. Black & White
  5. Facing the Sun
  6. Fall in Line
  7. Be My Spark
  8. Spent on You
  9. Staying Young
  10. Strange Dreams



Since appearing on the Tampa Bay music scene in 2014, Mercy McCoy's marriage of restless roots energy with a strong pop appeal has quickly attracted the attention of audiences and music industry insiders alike. The band has been on a role: they placed as a Top 5 finalist in the 2014 Durango Sole Performer competition, they were selected as a Daily Discovery on American Songwriter Magazine's website, and they've earned coveted opening slots for national touring acts like Bronze Radio Return and Twenty One Pilots. Now, Sunshine Drenchy and Ybor City Records proudly announce the release of Mercy McCoy's much-anticipated debut album, Brighter In The Dark.

Led By singer-songwriter Stefan Scheuermann and slide guitarist Collin Ryan, the St. Petersburg-based band is rounded out by a strong supporting cast, including acclaimed singer-guitarist Ed Woltil (The Ditchflowers), innovative drummer Justin Stoddard, and keyboard stylist Eddie Entreken (Briar Hill Band). Ryan's uncle–former Roger McGuinn sideman and famed Tampa Bay guitar legend Steve Connelly–recorded and co-produced the record at his Zen Recording Studios, capturing the band's warm ensemble blend of classic roots and modern folk-pop elements. Shades of Jackson Browne and Allman Brothers cohabit nicely with hints of Jason Isbell, Counting Crows, and Amos Lee.

Veering from earthy, slide guitar-fueled Americana (Born to Try, Our Lies Came True, Black & White) to intimately melodic folk-pop confessionals (Brighter in the Dark, Spent on You), to more atmospheric fare (Fall in Line, Strange Dreams) the album ebbs and flows through a bracingly diverse mix of styles, with a firm foundation of classic roots influences and a unifying pop accessibility.

Band Members