Railbirds

Railbirds

by Jeffrey Halford
     
 
Jeffrey Halford fills Railbirds with looks at hard-bitten lives that hold more sadness and disappointment than joy and bliss. He sings -- with a little sarcasm and a little resignation -- in the opening song, "Denial," "to expect happiness now, wish me good luck." Later, in "Watching the Trains," he observes, "You can work your whole lifetime and never get it

Overview

Jeffrey Halford fills Railbirds with looks at hard-bitten lives that hold more sadness and disappointment than joy and bliss. He sings -- with a little sarcasm and a little resignation -- in the opening song, "Denial," "to expect happiness now, wish me good luck." Later, in "Watching the Trains," he observes, "You can work your whole lifetime and never get it right," and in "Out on the Run," he states: "I'm running from what I've become...Oh, my God, I pray to thee/Give me back my memory." This lost soul theme probably is best summarized in the aptly entitled "Purgatory," a swampy noir tale about the place where you "sit there and wait" while contemplating your life. The San Francisco-based Halford also works this sense of personal dislocation into songs like "South of Bakersfield," in which a man reminisces about a pretty hitchhiker he once picked up, and the introspective "Safe at Home," which examines a post-9/11 world. Halford, however, is at his storytelling best on "Watching the Trains," "Rent to Own," and the title track. In the first, a man ponders a lost love as he whiles away his nights watching trains. "Rent to Own," a John Hiatt-like rave-up, niftily and swiftly compares a relationship to automobiles, while the latter tune poetically looks at the passing of time through the eyes of a horse racetrack aficionado. Halford delivers his world-weary sentiments with an appropriately gruff voice, but one that never gets too gravelly or grave. His backing band, the Healers, perfectly complements these rough-hewn tunes by serving up gritty roots rock that draws in blues, soul, country, and folk. Halford himself contributes some fine work on the National Reso-Phonic slide guitar, while he gets additional support from guitarist Chuck Prophet, longtime Sir Douglas Quintet organist Augie Meyers, and ex-Counting Crows drummer Steve Bowman. Despite his tough exterior, Halford can also be remarkably tender, as he displays in the wonderfully loving ode to a baby daughter "Hannah Ruth." In fact, he concludes the disc on a relatively upbeat note with "Vancouver Rain," a love song brimming with hopefulness. Packed with sharply written tunes as well as meaty roots rock, Railbirds should help to propel Halford up through the ranks and into Americana's upper echelon.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/12/2005
Label:
Shoeless Records
UPC:
0614511730228
catalogNumber:
2444
Rank:
231111

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jeffrey Halford   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar,national steel guitar,Musician,Group Member
Chuck Prophet   Guitar,Background Vocals,wah wah guitar,Distortion,Musician,Guest Appearance
Keta Bill   Background Vocals,Musician,Guest Appearance
Jim Norris   Drums,Musician,Group Member
Jeffrey Potter   Bass,Harmonica,Background Vocals,Musician,Guest Appearance
Angie Meyer   Organ,Hammond Organ,Musician,Guest Appearance
Paul Olguin   Bass,Bass Guitar,Musician,Group Member
Steve Bowman   Drums,Tambourine,Musician,Guest Appearance
Jimmy Dewrance   Harmonica,Musician
Trey Sabatelli   Drums,Musician,Group Member
Rich "Goldie" Goldstein   Electric Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Slide Guitar,wah wah guitar,Musician,Group Member
Adam Rossi   Organ,Percussion,Piano,Background Vocals,Musician,Guest Appearance
Rich Goldstein   Electric Guitar,Slide Guitar

Technical Credits

Harry Nilsson   Composer
Michael Romanowski   Engineer
Jeffrey Halford   Composer,Producer
Steve Bowman   Contributor
Thom Canova   Producer,Audio Production
Adam Rossi   Producer,String Arrangements
Marcy Goldstein   Art Direction

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