A Review of the CD
"Blues for Cain & Abel"
by Terry Kitchen

"Blues for Cain & Abel"
by Terry Kitchen

Copyright 1999 - UC CD 1006
Urban Campfire Music
P.O. Box 440171
West Somerville, MA 02144

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 12/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Ponder, reason, empathize, tweak, slam--but always speak from the heart. Such is an apt description of the content and direction of Terry Kitchen's latest release, "Blues for Cain & Abel." Assembling a group of generally slower-paced songs, Kitchen has bound them together with the thread of humanism. Three songs are definite standouts: "Blues for Cain & Abel," "The Year of Living Lonely" and "Martin Luther."

"Blues for Cain & Abel" is a challenging, some would say heretical, re-focusing on that familiar bibical tale. Kitchen boldly and defiantly sings:

Presented with serene but realistic aplomb, the insightful "The Year of Living Lonely" is a determined homage to becoming knowledgeable about and comfortable with oneself, rather than seeking self-assurance from others. Kitchen sings: "Martin Luther" questions and debates the purposes of church and religious practices--are they to comfort, challenge or both and to what degree? Kitchen proffers: The most moving and emotional chorus is contained in "Heimaey," about a 1973 volcanic eruption around the fishing port of Heimaey, Iceland. At one point, the lava threatened to seal the mouth of the harbor which would have doomed the existence of the town and its inhabitants. But the villagers were able to divert and dam up the flow. Kitchen, backed by penny whistle and bodhran, sings: Also worthwhile of mention is "Atlas," a look at givers, caretakers and the childhood lessons carried over to adulthood that sometimes have us living under false premises; "Come Back to Me," about the unexpected departure of a partner; and "Noah," a take on the biblical parable about those with greater consciousness and capacity having a greater responsibility for, but not a greater ownership of, others in this world. "Bethelem" is a hymn about intergenerational connections to a place.

This is Kitchen's most iconoclastic and strongest release to date. He has a particular talent for being able to transform diverse subect matter into softly presented but dynamic and challenging ideas. This release is simultaneously entertaining and thought-provoking.

Kitchen on acoustic and classical guitars, bass, piano and vocals, is assisted by Michael Holland on back vocals; Brice Buchanan on electric and slide guitars and back vocals; Phyllis Capanna on back vocals; Norm Zocher on electric guitar; Seth Connelly on fretless bass; Laura Wood on percussion; Larry Finn on drums; Alison Lissance on piano, organ and synthesizer; Elizabeth Kinney on cello; Eric Gerber on mandolin; Billy Novick on penny whistle; and Tricia Gill on bodhran.

Track List:

All songs by Terry Kitchen except for the hidden cut "Let It Be" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

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