This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 8/08
"Kevin and Maxine's Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Musicians typically produce hundreds of songs in a lifetime.
Some of the progeny are exceptional to their creator because
they are laden with special meaning derived from personal events,
affairs of others or are captures of
significant history. The degree of emotional attachment to one's creations varies even though
sharing the same parentage.
With fans -- outsiders to any private intricacies -- favor is developed
by what speaks to them and also by the manner it does so. It's an
interchangeable combination of words, message, voice, delivery and the
accompanying instrumentation, with the most preferred songs usually a congruent
all five ingredients. On a rare occasion, a singer-songwriter will
produce a release that provides a number of these choice inclusions but
it is two or three of these elements contained per cut.
Let's employ the term 'activity stoppers.' Such is an apt description of these songs that halt a
listener in his or her multi-tasking tracks, forcing full attention to
what is emanating from the musical player. These happenings are generally
rare, a veritable transporting to a state of
blissful euphoria even if sadness or pain predominates what is being expressed. Nothing else matters or even exists. Elation
Tim Grimm has worked up a
bonanza of such with his latest creation "Holding Up The World."
The title cut, "Holding Up The World," opens the release and is one of
those aforementioned gems displaying full-fledged synergy. With cello
and piano backing that elevates Grimm's wistfulness, the lead character
ruminates on his life, its roles and responsibilities, the hits and
misses enjoyed and endured, personal vulnerability and the perseverance
that sees it all through.
In the same category, "The Girl" follows as an eerie medley of backwoods
characters drawn in theologic memes and highlighted by Jason Wilbur's banjo play.
This song shares the mystical territory mined so well by the late
"This Hole" isn't a protest song, at least not the in-your-face kind.
Grimm takes a coal miner's son carrying the weight of family expectations
to do better and depicts him back home after duty as a soldier in
Iraq. He isn't the same person, certainly isn't thinking the same as before
his tour and notes that "they tore down this mountain to take all
the coal, now in faraway countries we're killin' for oil."
Another seductive cut is "Heart So Full," a spare offering, with a
prodigal or wayward lover-type pining for shelter from the what and where he
earlier departed. Jason Wilbur's gently moaning electric guitar adds allure
The final inclusion in the pantheon of Grimm gems is "So It Goes" as a
farmer is slowly losing everything that has meaning for him but he
remains upright and simply accepting of whatever comes his way. The late Kurt
Vonnegut in "Slaughterhouse Five" used the fatalistic phrase "and so it
goes" numerous times to 'explain away' the inexplicable -- the song title here is in the same vein.
A number of the other offerings -- "Krista," "Rebecca Versailles," "Or Bust," and "Long Away Around" --
all feature the juxtaposition of ephemeral losses balanced by that which
cannot be washed, blown or otherwise taken
away. They didn't provide quite the oomph of the highlighted selections but
certainly merit mention as some will find these among their favorites.
Grimm ferries listeners as participants and witnesses to other worlds
while providing a running commentary about these territories. All may not be fully
decipherable but the thinking and feeling emanating from these journeys
infuses a most welcome feeling of aliveness in the listener.
The short take: he nails it.
Holding Up The World - 4:50
The Girl - 5:40
Krista (Beth Cahill) - 4:17
Rebecca Versailles - 4:50
Or Bust - 2:56
So It Goes - 4:55 /li>
Long Way Around (co-written with Jan Lucas) - 2:41
This Hole - 4:53
Heart So Full (co-written with Jan Lucas) - 3:50
Blowin' In The Wind (Bob Dylan) - 4:51
All songs written by Tim Grimm unless as noted.
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