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Home

by James Keelaghan
     
 
James Keelaghan’s soothing, resonant baritone and straightforward ballads about the small, timeless moments of everyday life have earned him comparison to Gordon Lightfoot and John Gorka. On his sixth solo album, Home, which follows the full-band sound of 1999’s Road, Keelaghan returns to his just-folk roots with spare acoustic

Overview

James Keelaghan’s soothing, resonant baritone and straightforward ballads about the small, timeless moments of everyday life have earned him comparison to Gordon Lightfoot and John Gorka. On his sixth solo album, Home, which follows the full-band sound of 1999’s Road, Keelaghan returns to his just-folk roots with spare acoustic instrumentation --mandolin, fiddle, 12-string, and pedal steel guitars -- and songs that hit the heart of homeland, seen through a historical, political, philosophical, and personal eye. Keelaghan chooses traditional and cover songs wisely: the cheerily trilling opener heralding spring’s return (David Francey’s “Red-Winged Blackbird”), the mournful tale of a poor young poacher packed off to an 1820s Tasmanian labor camp by imperious British landlords (“Henry’s Down Fall”), the haunting Irish poem-song to an everlasting love (“Flower of Magherally”), and the exquisite Native American-spirited invocation of the north country’s “land of the silver birch cry of the loon” (Ian Tamblyn’s “Woodsmoke and Oranges”). Originals include a whimsical ode to his blue-eyed canine companion (“Sinatra and I”), his innocent ten-year-old- paperboy’s look at Quebec separatist-terrorists’ kidnappings (“October 70”), a rueful cast on 1916’s expert rebuilding of the Canadian Parliament while the young apprentices are off at war (“Stonecutter”), a syncopated rant against the empty promises of empty-voiced politicians and media (“Nothing”), and two lilting paeans to the simple comforts of love and self-knowledge (“Sing My Heart Home” and “You Know Me”). Down-to-earth and familiar as a second skin, Home proves you can indeed go home again. --Janie Matthews

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
A leading voice on the Canadian folk scene, James Keelaghan won a Juno award for 1993's My Skies. Home is his first recording on Appleseed, and Keelaghan's precise writing and ideological slant make him a good fit for the socially conscious label. Keelaghan opens the album with David Francey's "Red-Winged Blackbird," an easy-flowing melody that finds hope in the bright wings of a bird in the midst of winter. Imagery of nature is featured prominently on a number of tunes. The northern shore and the cry of a loon paint a picture of an older time and place in Ian Tamblyn's "Woodsmoke and Oranges," while "birds sweetly singing" and flowers blooming evoke the beauty of a young maid in "The Flower of Magherally." Keelaghan also remembers to add a bit of social criticism on the cutting "Nothing," a fine critique of contemporary politicians, advertisers, and the media. The beauty of the piece is that Keelaghan doesn't try to tackle a specific problem. Instead, he leaves the lyric hazy enough to apply to anyone who's trying to convince the public that his or her lies are the truth. Home also sounds good. The simple arrangements integrate pedal steel and electric bass, creating a full, organic sound that complements the material and Keelaghan's resonant vocals. Home offers few surprises for Keelaghan's fans, but that's not a bad thing: just a solid batch of songs, confidently presented by a steadfast artist.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/12/2002
Label:
Appleseed Records
UPC:
0611587105929
catalogNumber:
1059

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