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Joel Harrison - Pa ssing Tr ain

Pa ssing Tr ain

Joel Harrison

Tuition Music

Available from Joel Harrison's web site.

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

This is Joel Harrison's attempt to simplify his songwriting and make a pop record; there is some indecision about the results in this corner, as the disc comes across with mixed reactions. There is no explanation as to why there is the space in the word Train (there doesn't have to be one) however it just seemed an odd affection.

Some of the songs are excellent in that they are well written and there are some interesting stories to tell; including one, Northwest Jewel (for Ken Kesey), that does give homage to a much under-appreciated author, and another just about life/love called, Just For The Ride. His jazz background is apparent in the instrumentation and the melodies, and there in comes one of the shortcomings. He hits a groove that is jazz from the blues point of view and never actually lets it go. It is a slowish groove, propelled by a very heavy, dominant and distinct bass line and it holds for the whole disc. Mr. Harrison provides some very interesting and some very good guitar leads, however it isn't enough to break up the patterns that are established. The players with him are very solid and provide good support but they never get to take off, let go and just air out the melodies so that they are free to soar. It is a disc that feels too constrained.

Track List:

  • The Wishing Well
  • Passing Train
  • Northwest Jewel
  • Glory Days Are Gone
  • Ship Sailing Cross a Mountain
  • Travel On
  • No One Knows How to Die
  • Midnight
  • God Loves a Loser
  • Regret
  • Just For the Ride
  • Wash Away
Produced by Ben Wittman

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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