A Review of the Johnsmith CD
"Break Me Open"
"Break Me Open"
Blue Pine Productions
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 3/06
If Johnsmith's music doesn't compel you to conduct a personal
inventory, then consider yourself among the living
dead. Although always inviting and comfortably presented, his songs
traverse the no-go zone of many individuals and couples--their sacred truths.
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
send me an email message
Now lest one get the impression that this is a collection of Barney the
Dinosaur mouthings put to music, fear not. With no offense to T-Rex
Barn, a level of maturity and experience is required to fully
understand and appreciate the depth presented here.
Unlike most releases and as hoary and cliched as it sounds,
there remarkably is no weak cut, or two or three, among the twelve
With a mesmerizing Weissenborn slide guitar opening, "Pothole Season" uses metaphor to compare the gaps and rough spots in our
relationships with the holes and cracks in the physical roads we travel upon.
The genesis of "Cold, Cold Ground" was the death of Johnsmith's
brother. The repetitive singing of the title words makes this song
particularly engaging. One doesn't tire of hearing them again and
again--in fact, the reiteration results in amping up the intensity of the song.
There is absolutely nothing lacking in Johnsmith's rendition of "Messy
Thing," but here's predicting it will soon be added to the repertoire of
some earthy chanteuse who will up the sensualness quotient.
"Barefoot in the Dew" opens with three lines of gentle comfort, with a jarring fourth:
"Oh, violets are violet and bluebirds are blue
But the end is tender and amiable.
Black is the night sky and white is the moon
Soft is the sound of a wood thrush at dawn
But hard like granite is the heart with no song..."
The compelling "Love's Not Through With Me" is made so by verses such as:
"...Can you love without needing
With lovely concertina and Irish whistle touches, "So Here's to
You" appropriately closes out the release as it just may any Johnsmith
concerts in the near future.
Lift it up as a silent prayer...
...Now I heard a voice from deep inside
Saying you're not blamed for love you tried
Oh, you may think that love takes two
But love's a gift from you to you..."
There is an abundance of standout instrumentation here. Touches of
Weissenborn slide guitar, Irish whistle, fiddle, mandolin, bass and
even accordian all provide compelling interludes and background
throughout the various cuts.
Though relatively early in 2006, this release will rank as one of the top 10 CDs of the year.
- Back to the Mystery (5:12)
- Pothole Season (3:20)
- Honest Truth (3:43) Johnsmith and Julie Baker
- Cold Cold Ground (3:50)
- Messy Thing (3:44)
- Barefoot in the Dew (4:04)
- Silver Creek (4:32)
- Love's Not Through with Me (4:58) - Darrell Scott
- Break Me Open (3:42)
- Box Elder (3:30) - LJ Booth
- 21 Miles (3:45)
- So Here's To You (4:17) - Alan Bell
All songs by Johnsmith, unless as noted.
Ownership, copyright and title of this folk music CD review belongs to
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 Disclaimers" section on my web site for additional
information about using, quoting, or reprinting this CD review.
Send inquiries to: send me an email message.
Return to Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk
Music CD Reviews home page.
To return to the last web page you visited, click the "Back"
button that appears immediately below: