A Review of the CD
"Secret Anniversaries"
by Jeff Talmadge

"Secret Anniversaries"
by Jeff Talmadge

Copyright 1999
Bozart Records
812 San Antonio, Suite 505
Austin, TX 78701
ph: (512)-453-7714

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 4/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
send me an email message

Holding on, letting go, wishing to go back and change things, desiring to start afresh. Texas-based Jeff Talmadge's latest release, save for one instrumental, focuses on the capriciousness of human relationships and the emotional ties remaining despite the severing of the physical. Talmadge paints down-to-earth portraits on a verisimilar palette of souls on the run from pain and failure, adrift, longing and searching for something better.

With a slight drawl, his sensitive, peaceful voice intensifies the feelings etched in his music, as his persona reflects the "everyday person" in the crucible of life. Beth Galiger's flute work and Gene Elders' violin touches aid immensely in capturing the poignancy of this collection of songs.

Talmadge opens with the title cut "Secret Anniversaries," backed by Galiger's affecting flute. Delving into the dates and moments of life that etch meaning into the tapestry of our lives, he sings:

Talmadge in "Hold On," sees a young couple, with their lives fully ahead of them, wish each other good-bye at a train station. He sees a bit of himself in the young man and wishes he could impart some battlescarred and hard-earned advice. He wistfully asks himself: His chorus completes the sentiment with: In reflecting on the whys and wherefores of a lost relationship in "Choices," Talmadge sings: The liveliest cut is "Train Sounds Like Tomorrow," an uptempo number paced by Gene Elders on violin. Talmadge ruminates on how the nuts and bolts of everyday life can crowd out viewing life with greater awareness and astuteness. He sings: In "A Space So Small," Talmadge offers some canny observations that epitomize the irony of lost relationships. Packing away mementos lovingly collected during the tenure of a coupling, he sings: The release ends with the easy-going instrumental "Adeline," a well-placed cut that maintains the mood and allows the listener time for reflection of the preceding content. A nice touch.

This is a intimate, tender, straightforward collection of stories, lovingly composed by someone who obviously knows his way around words. It may take a couple of listenings to fall under Talmadge's lyrical spell, but this is a CD that gathers momentum with each playing and is well worth giving it that time.

Talmadge on guitar and vocals is assisted by Beth Galiger on flute and backup vocals; Gene Elders on violin; Jeff Bramlett, Larry Seyer and Brian Wood on guitar; Peter Kempter and Fran Kammerdiener on cello; Spencer Starnes on upright acoustic bass; Glenn Fukunaga on fretless electric bass; Chris Scarles on percussion and drums; and Freddie Krc on drums.

Track List:

All songs by Jeff Talmadge except "Midnight Flight", written by Jeff Talmadge and David Rodriguez.

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