John Forrester is a new name to me though I was interested to discover he has played in the band Pressgang and is currently occasionally sharing the stage with one of my songwriting and performing heroes, Robb Johnson.
I have to admit it has taken a while for me to get round to reviewing this CD, Forrester's fourth solo recording,partly due to other, admittedly self inflicted, pressures but also because it appears to be such a personal testament that undertaking any form of critical analysis would seem intrusive; inappropriate even.
What that delay has enabled me to do is to listen to the album many times and my life is certainly the richer for that as both melodically and emotionally it certainly packs a punch, albeit a gentle and carefully considered one.
The opening a cappella 'Richmond Hill', although musically very different from the remaining tracks which have well judged instrumental support, starkly evokes the spirit of the album - a journey of, mainly, self discovery. A family member's terminal illness, which understandably interrupted the recording of the CD, also clearly affected the material of which it is comprised.
There is a strong air of melancholy in both the melodies and the words of songs such as 'Restless Bones' and 'Stone In My Stomach', although the latter has a stubbornly determined chorus. Not all is dark though - there's an optimistic swagger to 'New Season' and, although the lyrics of 'The Black Ship' are not exactly mood lifting, the melody suggests a cross between Kurt Weill's 'Pirate Jenny' and 'Bonny Ship the Diamond' which is not a bad combination in my book!
Given the contemplative nature of Forrester's songs it is one for late evening listening and would be excellent company for a nightcap of one's preferred beverage.
|Kelly Willis: Back Being Blue||Gretchen Peters: Dancing With The Beast|
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