A Review of the CD
"Sparrow's Wing"
by Garnet Rogers


"Sparrow's Wing"
by Garnet Rogers

Copyright 1999 - SGS1127CD
Snow Goose Songs
Valerie Enterprises
Woodburn Road
RR #1 Hannon, ON
LOR 1PO Canada
ph: (905)-692-4020
fax: (905-648-0849)
http://www.garnetrogers.com

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 7/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
http://www.kevindmccarthy.com/music/index.html
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It is reassuring when a performer has the assuredness and determination to withstand the pressures and whims of commercial viability and create a product based upon vision and heart. Such appears the case with Garnet Rogers, especially with his latest release, where four of the cuts come in at over a problematic-for-radio-play, seven minutes long. The overall impression of his newest offering is one of the music as he felt it, time parameters be damned. A la "Field of Dreams," the sense is "I will create it, the programmers and audience can work out the rest."

Rogers has returned more to his acoustic folk roots with this CD with just one cut, the powerful "Stormfront," featuring electrical guitar. If there is an overall theme, it is one of questioning the cost of what is generously called progress. The loss of livelihoods, traditions, wisdom--the very mortar of communities--that occurs as global economics and the blind pursuit of the almighty lucre shifts jobs elsewhere, is turning viable municipalities into ghost towns populated by embittered, lost souls. The similar loss of the cohesive values that bind people together is also bitingly covered in Rogers' snarling best.

On the lighter side, Rogers provides an extraordinarily loving benediction on the pricelessness of love and a short story-like cut on the lifelong pursuit of and redemption offered when love is finally found and embraced.

"Next Turn of the Wheel" is the initial tune tackling the dissipation of long-standing communities. Rogers sings:

Thinking back to better times, he recalls a time when "...the air was sweet with blossoms...and the sun danced on the water..." but then reverses himself and powerfully closes with: "These Broken Hills" and the aforementioned "Stormfront" complete the triumvirate of the "price of progress" litanies. "Stormfront" is Rogers at his angriest and most pointed. He sings: At first glance, this may come across as just a rant but Rogers has artfully encased his seething within invigorating drum and electrical guitar backing. He also moves back and forth between the talking/singing of the verses and absolutely roaring on the chorus. You'll either love or hate this cut--there won't be much middle ground.

Written while waiting for a tow truck on the Massachusetts Turnpike, enroute to a friend's wedding, "All that is," is an enchanting blessing that fires a Cupid's arrow capable of penetrating the hardest of hearts. When Rogers finally arrived at the wedding, in part he sang:

The delectable chorus is: "Threshold," at 8:03, is the longest cut on the release. Rogers poignantly captures the feeling of opportunity that the universe offers the young man in the song, but then innocence and naivete evolve into world-weary emptiness. Finally, serendipity offers a final chance for redemptive fulfillment. Rogers sings: He finally meets someone and: Praise be to Rogers for capturing such universal feelings with such elegant lyricism.

He also does a pleasing job with the Eric Bogle-like "11:11," a composition featuring the gathering of old soldiers, and John Dowland's poem "Come Againe, Sweet Love doth now Envite."

It's great to have Rogers back among the acoustic ranks. His booming but evocative baritone, exquisite guitar playing and production, and universally topical songwriting are always a treat.

Rogers, on vocals, violin, viola, electric and acoustic guitar, Hawaiian guitar, National Resonator guitar, guitar synthesizer and mando-guitar, is backed by David Woodhead on fretted bass, fretless bass, upright bass, piano and harmonium; Corey Thompson on drums and percussion; Ian Bell on accordion; Randall Hill on mandolin and tenor banjo; and Annie Lederman on fiddle.

Track List:

All songs written by Garnet Rogers, except as noted.


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