A Review of the Garnet Rogers CD
"Get A Witness"
"Get A Witness"Snow Goose Songs
by Garnet Rogers
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 11/07
Something new, something old and something borrowed.
"Kevin and Maxine's Celtic & Folk Music Reviews"
send me an email message
Such describes "Get A Witness," the latest release from Garnet Rogers.
Recorded live over a three-day period in July of this year at The Black
Sheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec, it's a mix of new offerings, previously
recorded songs and those from the likes of Karen Savoca, Bruce
Springsteen and the late Stan Rogers.
Recent events and headlines are mapped out in the initial songs. George
Bush gets eviscerated in the rockin "Junior" while "Beyond This Wall"
matter-of-factly paints a portrait of Canadian soldiers at war in
Afghanistan -- but applicable to the military members of any nation in
such a situation. "Junior" could alternately be titled "You Don't Speak
For Me," a recurring snarling lyric. It consists of Bush's words and
actions approrpiately mashed back into his face. "Beyond This Wall"
hits home with a twist of a proverb, turning the usual phrase into
"I'll fight to live another day."
In the title cut, "Get A Witness," Rogers recounts the best day and why, morning through night, of the subject in the song.
"Summer Lightning" is one of Roger's previous odes to his wife. Given a
different instrumental introduction, this cut is a slower, different
version, somewhat akin to what Dylan often does with his songs in
concert -- re-inventing pace, rhythm and emphasis. Here's a lyric
example of "Summer Lightning" with Rogers' writing at its most open and
"...For where I go
You go with me
Thought the miles keep us apart
Your kiss is on my lips and your face before me
And your gentle hand, always on my heart
We are brief as a summer lightning
We are swift as swallow's flight
We are sparks that spiral upward in the darkness in the night
We are frost upon a window
We won't pass this way again
In the end only love remains..."
Providing an evocative glimpse of a country music performer now out of
place and time in "Empty Glass," Rogers understatedly yet magically
takes the listener on the artist's last journey.
In this cut, he also excoriates the swapping of genuineness for image with:
"...There's no Hank, Merle or Johnny now
you can't hear them anymore
There's just redneck clowns and stupid hats
young girls dressed as whores..."
The guess is that this offering will be the favorite of most listeners -- it gets the vote here.
"Good and Faithful Servant" is another rocker led by electric guitar -- it's genesis the the funeral service for Coretta King.
Then begins the works of others with Karen Savoca's weepy "Bittersweet"
followed by Springsteen's "Blood Brothers." Each appears a companion
piece of the other. Both are tales of fateful acceptance and a carrying
on despite losing out on any grace of enlightenment. "Blood Brothers"
also brings to mind elements of an earlier Rogers song, "Frankie and
Then it gets real interesting.as right at the conclusion of "Blood
Brothers," "David's Solo" appears, flowing into "Night Drive" and then
"Northwest Passage." Don't be alarmed as track 8 registers a length of
30:31 on the media player.
"Night Drive" is an exhilarating operatic-style homage to the memory of
Garnet's late brother Stan, who perished in an airplane fire in 1983.
The mix of muted and rollicking makes Stan Rogers' "Northwest Passage"
quite the fitting companion piece. The chorus itself succinctly yet
brilliantly displays the imaginative songwriting talent of the elder
"...Ah, for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage
To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea;
Tracing one warm line through a land so wild and savage
And make a Northwest Passage to the sea..."
All is concluded with "The Bay Boy," a guitar instrumental that
provides the time and space to ponder what has just been experienced. A
hidden track, be forewarned it does take some time before appearing.
Kudos to Garnet Rogers for both the thought behind this release -- the
picking, choosing and connection of the songs -- and the music in its
totality. Plus, a tip of the hat for the iconoclasm displayed by the
length of a number of the cuts here: 7:25 for "Beyond This Wall,"
"Summer Lighting" coming in at 8:04, with "Empty Glass close behind at
8:10. "Night Drive" runs 11:10. Any discussion of anti-corporate music
-- that for the audience -- requires the inclusion of Garnet Rogers.
All songs by Garnet Rogers, except as noted.
- Junior - 3:44
- Beyond This Wall - 7:25
- Get A Witness - 4:50
- Summer Lightning - 8:04
- Empty Glass - 8:10
- Good and Faithful Servant - 4:16
- Bittersweet - 6:25 (Karen Savoca)
- Blood Brothers - 4:58 (Bruce Springsteen)
- David's Solo - 2:52 (David Woodhead)
- Night Drive - 11:10
- Northwest Passage - 7:40 (Stan Rogers)
- Bonus Track, The Bay Boy - 2:04
Copyright © 1998-2015 Kevin & Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews. All rights reserved.
Ownership, copyright and title of this folk music CD review belongs
to me, Kevin
McCarthy. Ownership, copyright and title are not transferable or
assignable to you or other parties regardless of how or if you or other
parties use, copy, save, backup, store, retrieve, transmit, display, publish,
modify or share the CD review in whole or in part. Please read the "Terms,
Conditions and Disclaimer" section on my web site for additional
information about using, quoting, or reprinting this CD review.
Send inquiries to: send me an email message.
Return to Kevin and Maxine's Celtic & Folk
Music CD Reviews home page.
To return to the last web page you visited, click the "Back"
button that appears immediately below: