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Robert Rolfe Fedderson - Graves of Soldiers

Graves of Soldiers

Robert Rolfe Fedderson

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

The lead cut, Ashes, to this 6-selection EP almost put me off the disc immediately. Poorly recorded, sloppy, amateur, half-hearted, it's an exercse in…well, I don't know what. The next cut, Graves of Soldiers, however, completely reverses that. Just Fedderson and two guitars, it's quintessential protest folk that aces cats like David Rovics, a simple but powerful statement of defeated anger. It seemed impossible that the integrity of this track came from the same musician who had just finished the previous one, but it had. Then erupts the raw unadorned lead line in the middle of the tune, stark and moving while short and to the point. Striking. The third cut straddles the line between the first two, revealing that Fedderson has a lot of really interesting ground-level rhythms and ideas but appears to be a split personality. The song is Easternly exotic, smacking of Kashmir, but his voice goes up a couple of octaves, the recording decays, etc. The fourth cut advances upwards from there but the fifth, Out of Everything, walks back to the searing lowburn intensity of Graves, another parable of extreme despair, now in an impassioned encantation proclaiming "I'm all out of everything / I don't believe in anything" over and over, simultaneously cataloguing a laundry list of modern loss, genuinely reaching down into the fraustrations of the heart. The disc closes out with a simple, short, overdubbed guitar instrumental nicely icing out the intonation of Graves and Everything, kinda Cat Stevens-ish a la Tea for the Tillerman. So, what we have here is a 50-percenter: 50% eh!, 50% wow!!!, but the Wow Factor is so damn affecting that Fedderson must be urged to follow his strong suit and, if he's gotta hang on to the rest, radically re-tailor them to his apogee.

Track List:

  • Ashes
  • Graves of Soldiers
  • Harm's Way
  • Desert Sky
  • Out of Everything
  • Memorial Day

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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