A Review of the Joe Crookston CD
"Fall Down As The Rain"

"Fall Down As The Rain"
by Joe Crookston

Copyright 2004
Milagrito Records
P.O. Box 234
Ithaca, NY 14851

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 7/05
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Where has Joe Crookston been? Actually, the more appropriate question is where have I been? Crookston issued this CD in 2004 so the onus is on me for being in the dark about this emerging talent.

Providing inspired, insightful and engaging lyrics; singing in a clear, comfortable voice; and performing almost as a one-man band; all in an initial release, Crookston is one of those artists whose 'work,' once heard, creates the desire for more. He performs with the assuredness of a seasoned veteran.

"The Sylvan Song" is the stopper here--stopper being the cut that compels the listener to cease all other tasks and focus solely on the aural. With compelling guitar background, Crookston muses on and melds everyday beauty with the spark of life: He sings:
"...It's in the color forms of fire
It's the marmot and its call
It's in the conduct of copper
And in the light it brings us all..."
My words do not do this song justice--it must be heard. It will make you shiver.

Combine "The Sylvan Song" with the opener, "Fall Down As the Rain," and the spectre of the late Dave Carter makes an appearance. Remember that Carter opened his "When I Go" release with the title cut, a song about passing. Crookston does the same with "Fall Down As the Rain." After assuming various identities and life cycles, the last verse goes::

"And when that eagle learns to fly
I'll flutter from that tree
I'll turn myself around again
As part of that mystery"

"Don't Bring Me Flowers" is NOT a rehash of the similar-sounding Neil Diamond hit. The song's motif stresses expressing thoughts and feelings to living loved ones prior to their passing.

Sweeping the listener off to a Parisian cabaret with the jazzy accordion-backed "The Good Stuff," Crookston channels Marlene Dietrich in a song ostensibly about auctions but actually twined thematically to "Don't Bring Me Flowers."

In "Satisfied," he riffs on receiving Roald Dahl's book "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory" as an Easter gift, cogently tieing in Dahl's story with the human need, desire and striving for satisfaction, however unreachable. The piano-backing and song's style is reminiscient of John McCutcheon.

"Mostly," enhanced by engaging organ and guitar backing, is a spiritual of self-disclosure.

The percussion-driven "If I Say Yes" continues in the numinous vein.

"Dance And Sway" is a charming, life-affirming love song in which the word 'love' ingeniously never appears.

Coded word play is the feature in "Blue," where Crookston, other than in the title, describes various human feelings and emotions sans naming colors.

"Little Pink" and "Poor Me" are well presented traditional cuts.

Bravo to this new artist and his very first release, for he has set the bar very high. This is the quality of music that veteran performers aspire to.

At the risk of sounding (not smelling) like teen spirit--Crookston rules!

Crookston, on vocals, guitar, accordion, fiddle, banjo and piano, is backed by Kathryn Caldwell on harmony vocals; Kathryn Mostow on harmony vocals; Clipper Anderson on double bass; Tim Miller on percussion and David Lange on piano and hammond E organ.

Track List:

All songs written by Joe Crookston, unless as noted.

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