This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 12/01
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Lock away the sharp cutlery. Stockpile any and all of Norman Vincent Peale's tomes. Loosen the cap on that bottle of Prozac. All right, you've been forewarned.
Wisconsin native Jeffrey Foucault's initial release is essentially a dichotomy.
Scattered across his grim landscapes are old souls, the wounded, the scarred and those saddled with a fatigued acceptance of their calling. Still, his characters aren't losers.They are simply blinded, lockstepped on paths that only rarely yield the short-lived victory. But every so often, they manage to momentarily rise up and buck their fate, ensconced in a cloud of defiant befuddlement.
The flip side of Foucault's austere world is his remarkable lyrical giftedness. He assembles words into remarkable patterns of startling imagery and stark emotion, managing to polish the hard edges of both his characters and tales with the exhilarating power of his writing.
In "The Battle Hymn (Of The College Dropout Farmhand)," his character speaks of his life passing by:
"...hear me, oh hear meSeemingly seeking a woman possessing an equal arsenal of talents, ones that can penetrate his many disguises and subterfuge, he cryptically adds in "Secretariat":
these times will grow faint
and the years spring up new like the Indian paint
our lives they succeed us
our children we taint
pray for my soul, the times they grow faint..."
"...I need a woman with a heel like AchillesReluctantly but dutifully departing a relationship in "Streetlight Halos," Foucault sings:
so I know there's always one way I can win
love is patient, love is kind but let's be honest
love is a catalogue of deadly sins
because I'm the blue-eyed son of a hurricane
I'll twirl you so sweetly around
but be careful, you know Atlanta
never looked the same
after she burned to the ground
after she burned down..."
"Good bye, I'm leavingThe sinking character in the plaintive "Highway And The Moon," sings of personal bleakness:
this house and this country for home
and a heart full and aching with wonder
to reap every seed I have sown...
...Maybe every man's heart is a graveyard unkempt
and the lines on his face mark the stones
but I saw in your eyes some part of my soul
and I swear I will make you my own"
"Buckshot moon, bloodshot heartThis is a very sparse release, almost exclusively Foucault's vocals and guitar. His guitar work contributes to the ambiance of each song, as does his vocals, each becoming an integral part of the tapestry he weaves with each tale.
when are the good times going to start
burned out mouth, turned out light
it's a downhill road, it's an uphill fight
smoke on the glass, in a twilight town
needle says empty but it's still going down
on a five bar street, in a one church town
twelve bars blues, frost on the ground..."
Perky he ain't. Talented and well worth a listen, or two, or three, he certainly is. Listeners will be treated to simple stories told greatly.
Foucault, on vocals and acoustic guitar, is assisted by Peter Mulvey on vocals, lap steel and acoustic guitar; Mark Olson on classical guitar; and Joe Wong on drums.
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