This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 5/01
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Bill Morrissey's writing style is simple yet plumbs profound emotional depths. While he possesses the talent to both simultaneously purr and roar with his lyrics, he does not employ multisyllabic words because, in his hands, less can be more. On this, his latest release, he writes clearly and cleanly in a manner that effects both head and heart, making listening to his tales of woe alluring to a guilt-laden degree.
Remarkably, each cut deserves praise, but a few deserve highlighting. Speaking of a lost love in "Twenty Third Street," Morrissey, intriguingly captures nuances behind spoken words:
"...I listened as she said she loved meEnding a pairing in "Just Before We Lost The War," he closes with:
I'll always remember that sound..."
"...So say goodbye and fare-thee-wellThe same theme permeates "Moving Day." Morrissey sings:
Tell everyone I'm doing fine
For as far as I can tell
I'm just ten years down the line
What we give we can't get back
and we always ask for more
We could not retreat, we could not attack
just before we lost the war"
"...Moving day is over nowHis imagery in "St. Valentine's Day" is stunning:
This house is just a shell
Say goodbye to the sights and sounds
we came to know so well
Your car is loaded to the roof
It's just the same with mine
There's no room for the dreams we had
I guess they stay behind."
"The church was cold and darknessNot able to put together the pieces of life's puzzle in "Judgement Day," Morrissey opens with:
at the early morning Mass
Till the sun brought its own colors
to the figures in the stained glass
And they shown from a light
that came from so far away
It was a miracle to my young eyes
on St. Valentine's Day...
Just to hold you before the sunrise
when the world is just a darkened heart
and that heart is full of lies
'Cause I told you it ain't ever gonna go away
This miracle I feel in your arms
on St. Valentine's Day..."
"I was born just out of townVeering away from the predominant theme of sadness and regret, over the loss of what was or could have been, Morrissey concludes with a plaintive, hopeful plea for acceptance. Requesting refuge for his less-than-perfect self in the ironically titled "Will You Be My Rose?", he sings in the refrain:
and I never could get in
So I turned to travelin 'round
where the nights fade and the days begin
They called me a hobo
but I never took that name
And they called me a pilgrim
but I was not to blame
As I wandered through the tall pines and the clay
trying to put a hurry-up on Judgment Day..."
"...A rose in the snowThis cut is the solitary uplifting tale in what could be dubbed Bill Morrissey's 'relationship release'.
so fresh and clean
A rose that's the brightest red
I have ever seen
A rose that can show me
when all goes wrong
You found a place for me
a place I belong..."
His talking-singing raspy vocals draw in the listener in a charmingly seductive manner. The accompaniment throughout is spare yet adds emotional depth.
This is exhilirating art despite its downcast predilections. It's focus on feelings is fascinating--it will open your eyes to your present and also, for better or worse, make you root around your past.
Morrissey, on vocals and guitar, is backed by David Henderson on bass; Kent Allyn on piano, keyboard, guitar and fretless bass; Johnny Cunningham on violin; Marc Elbaum on clarinet and tenor sax; Cormac McCarthy on harmonica
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