A Review of the Janet Bates and Instruments of Change CD
"The Colours Will Come Back"

"The Colours Will Come Back"
by Janet Bates and Instruments of Change

Copyright 2005

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 8/05
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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With a voice residing in singing distance of Loreena McKennitt and songs nursed by a social consciousness, Janet Bates is back with her second CD. A Canadian, now living in Oregon, Bates continues applying a deft metaphorical touch throughout her songwriting.

Her opening cut, "Makayla," about an uprooted child lacking the traditional family and home, has the young girl riding an entertainment park merry-go-round. The one static quality in her life: uncertainty. "Women In Black" is a tribute to the worldwide protest groups that serve as a needed reminder of the death and maiming of innocents that accompanies all wars.

A search for inner peace drives the peripatetic ramblings of the character in "Time To Go." Cleverly using metaphor in "Not In Kansas Anymore," Bates examines the deficiencies of thecharacters from "The Wizard Of Oz" and interprets them in the context of life in present-day America.

"Owl" is a musical children's story that amplifies the degradation of the environment. The endless spiral of death and revenge is depicted in the U.K. traditional-sounding tune, "My Maiden Claire."

Preceded by the reading of Joe Hill's last will and testament, Bates sings the moving labor song "Joe Hill." This combination will stir even the coldest of hearts.

How fame and fortune causes some to forget their roots and the ones who helped along the way, is the arc of "He Is Coming Back For Me." An exiled Napoleon mulls overhis choice of becoming an army general instead a more traditional mate and father in "Josephine."

Critical self-examination and coming to terms with oneself are the thrust of "The Stranger In Me." The following cut, "The Lion," is a tale of self-imprisonment similarly themed.

The life of the imported workers who perform housekeeping duties for fighters in war is explored in "Who Is Going To Pay The Price?"

Worrying whether the effect of taking a unilateral action in a relationship will result in personal happiness or sadness is the motif of 'Have I Gone Too Far?'. Countering this is a story of a couple deepening their connection in the closing cut, "The Promise I Will Keep."

This is a CD for those who enjoy thinking and feeling music. The sensitive and the spiritual are presented primarily in a context of life in today's world but on subjects applicable since time immemorial.

Special recognition need be given to the liner notes for this release. These notes win hands-down as the best of the year--nothing in the remaining months of 2005 will top this set. Besides lyrics and an explanation of how each song came to be created, there are superb color drawings accompanying each cut. This CD would be worth buying just to see this artistry.

Janet Bates, on vocals and 12-string guitar, is assisted by Ken Bates on banjo, bouzouki and vocals; Gary Montesano on guitar, harmonica and vocals; Doug Jones on keyboards, guitar, bass and vocals; Bill Reed on fiddle; Tom Gossage on percussion; Bill Gossage bass; Gary Schwartz on electric guitar; Mustapha Stokely on lead guitar.

Track List:

All songs by Janet Bates, unless as noted.

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