Jaime Michaels occupies a zone somewhere between Paul Simon (Wish on the Moon is pure joyous Graceland—Blues Traveler's John Popper helping in no small degree in that regard), Al Stewart, and Harry Chapin, all silhouetted by a purpling sunset on the horizon drawing down classic prairie, swamp, and Appalachian refrains. He tackles Murray McLauchlan's Sweeping the Spotlight Away to excellent effect just after a wistfully balladic chronicle of a loser caught by circumstance time and again (Federal Pen).
The Man with the Time Machine is a CD for the days when you're tired of clangorous rock and roll—yeah, even the mellifluous giddy-up of the Doobies—and just feel like sitting back, reflecting on times past while wondering what the other guy goes through in his own daily grind. There's a shoe shuffler or two—the aforementioned Wish on the Moon, China Dog, etc.—but, like all folkies, Michaels watches the side currents of life, not the hurtlingly frantic noise and images, far more the missed opportunities, the mistakes, the wrinkles in the heart. We may be living through the 21st century, but work like his takes us back to a Mayberry that's a lot scruffier around the edges, an indeterminate era when our fantasies about such things danced a little differently than a magazine cover might indicate.
This CD won't jump up and roar at you nor will it lay at your feet for a snooze, but it will provide a harbor in the storm of the routine, a place where you can take your shoes off, get a little misty-eyed, and re-assess things you once thought settled and understood. There are elements you missed, and Jaime Michaels has peeked around the corner to take note of them. That's really what folk music is for and The Man with the Time Machinedoes just as the title implies: turns back the pages to re-color the moods and memories all of us hurried past, now wondering how on Earth we could have missed it all.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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