This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 8/06
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Change is happening in the folk music field. What Dylan wrote,
"...the first one now will later be last..." is coming to fruition. How
else can the likes of Diana Jones, Zoe Mulford, Jamie Byrd, Danny
Schmidt, Pat Wictor and now Jay Linden, all relative unknowns, be
releasing CDs that will appear on the critics' lists of the Top
CDs of 2006?
It's not like these individuals were born yesterday or are just
out of their teens. No, they have paid their many dues and yet remain
vastly underpublicized. But still, the front row of the folk music world is
beginning to get crowded as these 'newbies' are now elbowing Dar Williams, Richard Schindell, Ellis Paul, John McCutcheon, Eliza
Gilkyson and the like for air time.
In Jay Linden's case, his obscurity can easily be attributed to
this being his very first release. In his fifties, he's been playing
music for some time, particularly in Canada, and apparently awaiting
just the right moment to deliver his debut release. Do not take it out
on him, but his deliberateness has shortchanged us because, yes, "Satchel" is
His voice is strong and clear with a slight touch of
twang--John Gorka with Townes Van Zandt flavoring. His writing flows
between the relatively guileless and the delicately obscure. The
instrumentation here is spare, but primarily offers guitar, with
mandolin, fiddle and dobro augmentation.
From the opening and closing cuts, "Traverse County" and "Upon
The Winter's Morning," the listener will immediately pick up strains of
Townes Van Zandt's "Rex's Blues" and also "Brother Flower." In fact,
the ghost of Van Zandt hovers eeriely throughtout this CD. Some
may say there's been a touch of reincarnation bewitchery at work.
Linden writes of relationships, of the inner thoughts and
feelings, as well as their outward expressions, and of the infinite and
variety of nature.
He does so in the melodious, with the learned, sagacious eye
of experience and the talent that makes the listener want to delve deeper and hear more.
A prime example of his songwriting is the opening verse
of "Riding On The North Wind," the 13th song:
"Oh the night was cold and cloudy, the rain blew in my eyes
Thunder broke the silence and the lightning lit the skies
From the ground to the horizon there was nothing there at all
Up above the heavens clashed like the sky was gonna fall
As I looked for cover I watched a spark flash by
I thought I saw an angel in the corner of the sky
Riding on the north wind..."
On "Something Better To Believe (Icarus' Fall)," cut 14,
Linden's writes of the clarion call of freedom clashing with the
"The closer that you come to feeling that you're home
The harder it becomes to find you doorstep
Back when I was young, I set out on my own
Walked the path 'til I could take no more steps
Young and full of dreams - hopes and plans and schemes
Crossing all the streams to reach the mountain
Westward to the sea, northbound to the sky
I could fly - soaring smooth, soaring high
As I looked for something better to believe..."
These are indicative of the motherlode of music here--songs as impressive as these finishing out the release!
Jay Linden doesn't offer a 'money back if not satisfied' guarantee for his CD, but he easily could and have no qualms about ever
finding a return in his mailbox. This is a very impressive CD that should
quickly and deservedly go to the top of the folk music charts in both here and Canada.
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.
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