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Jon McLurg - The Auctioneer

The Auctioneer

Jon McLurg

Available from CD Baby.

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

Jon McLurg has a very gentle, soft, and delicate voice, almost whispery, and the music surrounding him plays to that, never hurrying even when a tad up tempo ("Blue Pinstripes" and etc.), forever attentive to fading snapshots from the old days...especially when they're a matter of modern times sieved through sepia tones and provincial lacework. His band clearly loves the Americana refrains and essences flowing through *The Auctioneer*, all sinuously gliding beside him through 11 excellent songs while Chris C. dubs in resonant vocal accompaniments.

McLurg has a way with words as well, and it greatly cements his folkie bent, exceeding much of what is otherwise too carelessly scribed in genre lyricry:

Passion is the power
That makes the world go round
Power is the passion that slowly grinds it down
Destiny's a diamond on the wrong side of town
It takes a hungry eye to even see it

That's from the title cut, and that's poetry with insight and cleverness worthy of the form's better days. Or consider this from Etta Baker:

When I asked "Why should I try?"
Silently you showed me why
Like a tightrope walker on a big high wire
Shows small men why they live

That last line can slay, digging into profundity in a way that quietly shocks. Poetry was never meant to be a diary but rather a search for the marriage of thought, words, and meter in a way that forces the reader to stow the words away and ponder their vectors (or, as John Cage said, it's where the world of words enters the world of music). When it's set, as here, in undulating rhythms and careful instrumental understatement (despite the somewhat lush atmospheres), it gains even more in the unexpected tapping of the shoulder and knowing smile from a narrative that looks into your soul. Then the subtlety of the delivery quietly pours into insight with knowing discretion and you find yourself years later remembering the refrain and still thinking about it.

Track List:

  • Old Montreal
  • The Auctioneer
  • Molly of the Morning
  • Blue Pinstripes
  • Someone Thinks of You
  • Shadows
  • Dust
  • Etta Baker
  • True Blue
  • Oldest Promise
  • Big Band Theory
All songs written by Jon McLurg.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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