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James Keelaghan

APR CD 1059

Appleseed Recordings
P. O. Box 2593
West Chester, PA 19380
(610)-701-5755
info@appleseedrec.com

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Guntram Gudowius
(gg10555@yahoo.de)

The seventh album of James Keelaghan makes it obvious that he feels at home singing these songs. Whether it is his own, or traditional, or someone else's song, he interprets with respect, in his own style, which has its roots in his Celtic heritage. Growing up in Calgary and influenced by some other fine Canadian singer/songwriters, he's become one of his country's most cherished musical ambassadors. Whether he takes a historical event or sings from his travel experiences, his lyrics are rich in detail and take you away on the journey.

Opening with David Francey's content Red-Winged Blackbird, he describes the person longing for spring and listening for the bird as the first sign, confident that as every year it finally will come.

Henry's Down Fall is a variation on the theme of an English convict being sent to Australia and dreaming of his girl back home, with some social commentary added in the last verse. Sinatra and I, with a couple of cute references to Frankie-Boy's songlines, tells the story of the friendship between a blue-eyed dog and a lonely traveler. The Flower of Magherally is a lovely and tender traditional love song. October 70 tackles the topic of separatist terrorism in Quebec. Longing gives you a different perception of the surroundings, thus a wonderful description of northern coastline in Ian Tramblyn's Woodsmoke and Oranges. Leaving is a constant in the life of a travelling musician and there are many fond memories to be carried along in Sing My Heart Home. Set in the first twenty years of the 20th century, Stonecutter describes the sacrifice the population has to make when wars are fought, The song is from the angle a stonecutter whose young apprentices had all enlisted and consequently never returned.

Nothing is about just that; what is "sold" to us by politicians and media as everything - the truth. Not to leave on a down note James closes this collection with a love song, You Know Me, in which the singer's senses and behavior get out of his control by the mere appearance of the loved one.

The musical production is excellent and varies with the mood of the songs, leaving James' soothing baritone voice and occasional harmonies enough room to deliver the stories. Any complains? With just under 43 minutes there's too much space left empty on the disc! The booklet contains all the lyrics and track-by-track listing of the participating musicians.

All songs by James Keelaghan except "Red-Winged Blackbird" by David Francey, "The Rug"(part of "Henry's Down Fall") and "Le Defi"(part of "October 70") by Oliver Schroer, "Woodsmoke And Oranges" by Ian Tramblyn, "Henry's Down Fall" and "Flower Of Magherally" are traditional and arranged by J.K.

Players

  • James Keelaghan - Vocals, Guitar, Octave 12 String Guitar
  • Oliver Schroer - Vocals, Violin, Guitar, Octave Mandolin, Trumpet, Electric Guitar, Mandolin, Tambourine, Tenor Guitar
  • Hugh McMillan - Vocals, Bass, Pedal Steel Guitar, Octave Mandolin, Electric Guitar
  • Ben Grossman - Percussion
  • Rochelle Zubot - Vocals
  • Darlene - Vocals
  • Produced by Oliver Schroer

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2003, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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