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Mission Street Project - Liberty Tree: Songs From The American Kitchen Table

Liberty Tree:
Songs From The
American Kitchen Table

Mission Street Project

Available from Eric Balkey’s web site

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Monica Griffin

From the liner notes:

The Liberty Tree originated before the American Revolution when each of the thirteen colonies chose a tree. The trees were symbols of strength and a desire for liberty and self rule. They served as meeting places where patriots could sow the seeds of rebellion. Thomas Jefferson said, "A little rebellion now and then is a good thing; the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." And from a poem by Thomas Paine:
From the east to the west blow the trumpets to arms
Through the land let the sound of it flee,
Let the far and near, all unite with a cheer
In defense of our liberty tree.

Sometimes the voices that get the most attention are the softest. They call you to lean in closer to hear and understand what is being said. This is true of Erik Balkey. In this collection that focuses on the social issues that should be sanely discussed and examined in the American kitchen instead of shouted at outrageous volume from AM radio talk shows and the drum pounding of the corporate-owned media.

This collection spans many social issues: war, the economic decimation of small town American, the inequity of the justice system, the uniquely American love of and rationalization for guns, Native American rights, and the plight of the immigrant worker.

Most of the songs are written or co-written by Erik along with, among others, Freebo, Johnsmith, and Laurie MacAllister. Laurie's vocals are a real prize and are featured in most of the songs, making them even more poignant, sadder, and sweeter. They imitate and harmonize beautifully with Erik's guitar. There are also songs written by Dave Carter, John Fogerty, and Johnny Cash.

The only issue I have with the CD at times is the number of songs, eighteen. But even that, too, is indicative of the overwhelming number of issues that those working to further peace, justice, and humanity in the world have to deal with in an effort to set the world right. They're all important, so how do you ignore any of them? Whether you are involved in the peace and justice movement or are simply looking for an soothing escape from the daily assualt from hateful rhetoric, this CD is a gem of sanity.

Track List:

  • Should I Go Wordless?
  • Armageddon
  • I Oughtta Get A Gun
  • Cut 'em Down
  • Deja Vu (All Over Again)
  • My Two Sons
  • Unionville
  • Sanctuary Road
  • You Can Stay Here
  • When I Die (Don't Cry For Me)
  • I Love My Country
  • Man In Black
  • West Memphis Three
  • Hard Road
  • Look For The Light
  • Gun-metal Eyes
  • How Come I Roam?
  • Christmastime on Mission Street

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2006, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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