A Review of the CDs
"The Stars Above" & "Bridges"
by Tim Harrison

"The Stars Above" & "Bridges"
by Tim Harrison

Copyright 1995 (The Stars Above)
copyright 1997 (Bridges)
Second Avenue Records
12 Aldergrove Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4C 1B2
ph: (416)686-1616
fax: (416)686-0439

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 4/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Passion. An appealing fiery fervor. Vocals that compel attention and create a sense of immediacy. All this, combined with a graceful lyrical touch and flowing melodies make the music of this relatively unknown Canadian a thoroughly intoxicating enjoyment. Projecting a compassionate honesty, Harrison masterfully mixes rhythms, offering soothing subtlety on one cut with driving forcefulness on the next. Solid instrumentation featuring guitar, violin, cello, harmonica, whistle, flute and keyboard, among others, provide complementary casings for his songs.

Released in 1995, "The Stars Above" focuses primarily on relationships, both interpersonal and with life itself. The title cut, "The Stars Above," depicts the crushing angst that defines daily living for some:

However, Harrison imbues it with an upbeat closing message: The mournful "Wheatfield With Crows," borrowing from Vincent Van Gogh, ends with a further Van Gogh homage: On both "Elizabeth's Lament" and "The Parting Letter to Ophelia," Harrison turns more sorrowful. "Elizabeth's Lament" presents a woman drained in spirit by choosing, for the sake of security, to stay in a suffocating and unfulfilling relationship. "The Parting Letter to Ophelia" is a confessional attempt to explain the hows and whys of a failed relationship. Harrison, at his affective best, closes this cut with: "Born In the Mirror," a questioning of life, has a quiet but driving ferocity and a moving guitar backing. Harrison sings: He reaffirmingly concludes with: In "Joy Alright," Harrison, backed by a wistful harmonica and sharing vocals on the chorus, again reiterates satisfaction and fulfillment is attainable, even with life's daily ups-and-downs. The chorus asserts: "The more recent release, 1997's "Bridges," continues one of the primary themes from his 1995 offering "The Stars Above": the relative ease in losing footing on the pathway of life and commendation for those who arise time after time. The opening cut, "Not For the Love of the Money," tackles this issue head-on: Harrison adds: Steeped in a flowing rhythm, "Lord Hear Our Prayer," provides impact with its mantra-like choruses. Twining neglect of the downtrodden with society's blessing and laser-like focus on moneymaking, Harrison cries out: He finishes with: Again tacking the existential ills experienced in modern-day life and sounding reminiscient of Van Morrison, Harrison, in "Down To The River," offers hopeful and soothing absolution: The cello-backed "All The Goodbyes" features a set of splendidly imaginative lyrics. In the last three verses, Harrison sings: In a possible self-disclosure vein, "God Sent Me An Angel," depicts those seredipitous moments when life-changing events unexpectedly occur, whether or not we are ready. Discovering new life and love through a "healing" angel, Harrison sings: "Ship To Come In" uses a sailing analogy in focusing on the inertia latent in the hoping and waiting for personal release from events of the past: Both of these are quality releases and once entering your CD rotation, may never see a jewel box again. You'll also find yourself singing lines and choruses days after. Harrison is a rising talent and justly so. Catch him on the way up.

Track List:

"The Stars Above":

All songs from "The Stars Above" written by Tim Harrison.

"Bridges": All songs from "Bridges" written by Tim Harrison, except "Carrikfergus" traditional.

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