A Review of the CD
by Steve Brooks

by Steve Brooks

Copyright 2002

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 2/03
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood: bootscoot your boogie over, for you now have company in the person of Steve Brooks. Of course, Brooks isn't attempting a career move here. He's actually taken more than a week to record his thoughts and feelings regarding the September 11 terrorist attacks and the lingering effects on both Americans and all citizens of the world.

Brooks has released a 4-song CD espousing his opinions.While strongly expressed, he provides a more wholistic picture rather than a solely visceral response and strictly black-and-white viewpoint. And let's just say Brooks won't be breaking political bread with Keith and Greenwood anytime soon.

The bookend cuts are the most powerful.

The opener, "The Terrorists Have Won," opines that various actions of the U.S. government since 9/11 have handed at least a moral victory to Osama bin Laden and his ilk. Brooks sings:

"...When your Uncle Sam
Puts your neighbor in a cell
For reasons he will not tell
The terrorists have won...

...I'll tell you who is scaring me
More than any enemy
It's those who use a tragedy
To take away our liberty..."

In the closer, "The Silence of the Lambs," Brooks eloquently sings of the price paid by the innocents (or collateral damage in military talk) during war. He asks the listener:
"Now, who's the judge, and who's the jury?
And will you take a stand
For the sound and for the fury
Or the silence of the lambs?...

...And when your ears are being opened
To the voice of the damned
Know the truth is only spoken
In the silence of the lambs..."

Delving into the psychological aftermath of September 11 in "Normal No More," he sings:
"...When there's too much to feel
Too soon to be healed
And what used to be real
Can be normal no more...

...And the words can't explain
'Cause the words ain't the same
When they're normal no more..."

"Fever" flatout lambastes President Bush for his go-it-alone saber-rattling. Brooks offers:
"...Boy George is babbling mad
He wants revenge for what happend to dad
And the whole world can go take a walk
"Cause he the biggest kid on the block..."
Similar in feel and tone to Steve Earle's recently released controversial "John Walker's Blues," a song about former Taliban soldier and U.S. citizen John Walker Lindh, Brooks' offerings are cloaked in humanism and depth. Those are the major differences between what is presented here and songs of Keith and Greenwood, who responded to 9/11 and past similar events with no-holds-barred vengeance-seeking and myopic patriotism, respectively.

It's not realistic to believe this release will engender the level of controversy Earle generated because Steve Brooks is flying far, far below any media radar. Still, hats off to him for taking a stand and painting a more comprehensive picture, one that arcs beyond further death and destruction as the sole solution for a terrible tragedy and world-wide problem.

Brooks, on vocals, guitar and bass, ia backed by Jeffrye Glenn Tveraas on keybaords and percussion; Kelly Mulhollan on harmonica and mandolin; Donna Henschell on fiddle; Selia Quinn and Lisa Fancher on backing vocals.

Track List:

All songs written by Steve Brooks.

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