A Review of the CD
by Garnet Rogers

by Garnet Rogers

Copyright 2001 - SGS1127CD
Snow Goose Songs
Valerie Enterprises
Woodburn Road
RR #1 Hannon, ON
LOR 1PO Canada
ph: (905)-629-4020

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 11/01
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Bless the singer/songwriters for their willingness to invite listeners into their lives. In this case, doubly bless Garnet Rogers. His closing song on this release, the title cut "Firefly," is a musical valentine to his wife, Gail. But it is one thing to simply say 'I love you' to your partner. Authoring a song such as this places the depth of their connection in a remarkably different dimension.

The song "Firefly' finds him touring on California's west coast. Holding a photo of his wife when she was a young girl, he imagines the carefree and boundless joy in her life at that age. Reflecting on her entry into his life, he sings:

"...And so it was some twenty years ago
As winter turned to spring
That child grown to a woman now
Stood gazing at a ring
Her golden hair fell forward
As she held it to her breast
She changed his life forever
As she quietly said yes..."
He concludes with:
"...They will have no child to call their own
But to him it's all the same
He will love the woman that she is
And the child that she remains..."
This is a release about connections. Unity, sometimes strong, sometimes thin, sometimes broken, with kin, friends, strangers and even the land, is the dominant theme.

In this vein, Rogers pays tribute to fellow musican Greg Brown and his move out to the Iowa countryside in the opening cut "Better Days."

"Underpass"follows, detailing the emotional and physical demise of a homeless man:

"...Hopeless faces, pinched and grey
cold the wind and rain
Saying 'the meek shall inherit what is tossed away'

Slow down mister, would you please?
Give a boy a ride
I'm burning up with shame and need
I've nowhere left to hide..."

The recurring refrain "cold the wind and rain" plunks the listener right down in the midst of the dire bleakness, suffering alongside the afflicted individual.

"Redwing" also is pointed towards Rogers' wife Gail, as he sings:

"...What a gift of sight you had
To see into my heart
You did not flinch or turn from me
Though you saw me from the start..."
A couple's long-desired and eventual consummation in "The Girl From The Hiring Fair" contrasts heartily with the pair in the bawdy "Where'd You Get That Little Dress," a cut wonderfully embellished by Rogers in his concerts. Backed by rhythmic drum and electric guitar, Rogers lambastes the counterfeit reality of most models' figures and slams designer clothing while extolling the virtues of a simple summer cotton dress and hat:
"..I love the way it frames your face and sparkles up your eyes
And the dress just does one hell of a job of clinging to your thighs
I had to take a second look, a third look after that
Where'd you get that little dress?
Where'd you get that hat?..."
Enumerating the various recreational options available, he finishes with:
"...My vote is we hit the sheets
We could stay there for a week
We could huddle under cover, baby
Play some hide and seek..."
The subtle "Blue Smoke" presents the crumbling life of a farmer. Unable to get a loan and facing foreclosure, the farmer packs up and vacates the land but not without first leaving a farewell mark.

An engaging surprise is the melancholy "Lady Of Spain," a bank-robbery-gone-awry ballad with nary an accordion anywhere in its 5-plus minutes duration. It's plaintive chorus:

"...We were five this morning
two before long
none of us had ever thought our luck could go so wrong
I miss those horses, I wish I had them now
I'd raise my brother up on one
And take him back to town..."
Dreams makes wishes come true in "The Painted Pony." Clocking in at just short of ten minutes, this traditional English-type tale is wonderfully transported to the American prairie by Rogers.

"Nightfall/Who Could Have Known"opens with a dreamy, symphony-sounding instrumental, followed by a confessional surrender to the miracle of change, transformation and re-emergence.

It would bedevil King Solomon to determine which is better--Rogers' lyrics, music or vocals? For there is exceptional material here, appealing instrumental backing and that powerful but emotional delivery. Labeling someone as "the top" or "the best" usually is defeating because the brilliance of the artist gets lost in an argumentative quagmire. Let's simply say Garnet Rogers will enrich your life and who couldn't use more of that right about now?

Rogers on vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, tenor guitar, baritone guitar, slide guitar, violin, viola, flute, cello, mandocello and glockenspiel, is backed by Ian Bell on accordion; Pat O'Gorman on uillean pipes; David Woodhead on bass and standup bass; Corey Thompson on drums; Mike Bonnell on organ; David Travers-Smith on trumpet; and Randal Hill on mandolin.

Track List:

All songs written by Garnet Rogers, except as noted.

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