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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Jon Macey

Intention

Review by Gary Hill

Jon Macey is a member of Fox Pass, and I really enjoyed their disc when I reviewed it, so I expected great things here. Intention didn’t quite live up to the standards set by Macey’s band, but it is pretty good. Based in a musical motif that’s mostly acoustic and quite folk-like, Bob Dylan is the most obvious comparison. Like with Mr. Zimmerman, the vocals here are often a little hard to take. In addition, many of the songs seem to go too long for the lack of variety within. Each song taken by itself is pretty good, and some are quite good. There’s not enough variety here to keep it from feeling repetitive at times. So, overall, this is a good, but not great album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Trapped (By My Own Creation)

Starting with an acoustic guitar based mode, this grows out to a more full production. It’s still very much in keeping with a singer songwriter style. Bob Dylan is a pretty valid comparison in a lot of ways. There’s even a little bit of a punk rock edge at times.

Right in Front of Your Eyes
This piece seems to combine Tom Petty with Bob Dylan in a folk jam that’s pretty tasty. It’s acoustically driven and yet has a fairly lush arrangement. The chorus is quite catchy.
Pine Island, 1956
A folk rock tune, this is OK, but the vocals seem a bit hard to take. It’s got one of the more interesting musical arrangements, but those vocals really take away from that. There is some intricate acoustic guitar soloing later that’s worth mentioning.
Paris Street
A mellow tune, this one is stronger than the previous number, but it seems to stretch a little longer than it should.
Look Both Ways
There’s definitely more energy to this tune and it’s a good rocker that works pretty well. I’m reminded of the Rolling Stones just a bit at times. This tune also feels like it stays around too long.
Rosebud Creek 6/25
Back to more delicate acoustic music, there is some symphonic music laced on the top of this. It’s a pretty folk ballad that’s nice. Dylan comes in as a reference here, too.
Criminal At Heart
Although still acoustically driven, this is much more of a classic rock tune. It’s one of the better songs here and works really well.
As the Twig Is Bent
Harmonica opens this, bringing the Dylan comparisons out front. This acoustic ballad has something else in common with Mr. Zimmerman’s music, the general sound. There’s a harmonica solo mid-track, too.
Before You Go
We get a mellow and very pretty acoustic guitar driven ballad here. This is one of the highlights of the set because it’s very evocative.
Pretending
There’s not a lot of change here, but this is a fairly effective folk rock song. Unfortunately it goes on a little too long. Still, the hook is nicely accessible.
Jefferson County, Early November
A mellower ballad, this has some nice elements, particularly the extra layers of vocals, but it certainly stays around way too long. The symphonic build up is rather cool, though.
Fourth Time's the Charm
The basic concept remains the same. This is a Dylan-like energized folk tune.
All These Ghosts
This falls into the slow and mellow folk tune category. It’s good, but not all that different from a lot of the other music here. The formula is starting to wear thin. That’s a shame because taken by itself, this is one of the best songs of the set. It works out to something that’s almost jazzy later in the piece.
A Lot to Learn
The harmonica is back on this faster paced folk tune. It’s another that brings Dylan to the tongue. It’s good, but again seems too samey by this point.
This Is Just a Song
And here we get an intricate folk piece that seems to have some bluegrass in the mix. It’s one of the most unique and better cuts on show, making it both a rise back up in quality and an excellent choice for closer.
 
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