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Making a fair stab at rivalling Johnny Cash for memorable last works, Canada’s Gerry Griffin presents here a collection of songs written over the last five years or so which are pretty much all washed through with intimations of mortality. These are the songs of a man obsessed with life in the shadow of death, a man determined to make the most of the time left to him. It’s not in any way a seriously commercial effort in that there’s no big tunes, no lush production, no attempt to create a radio hit; it is, however, the sound of a man being true to himself, and this in itself gives Moment to Moment an honest charm that might worm its way into your affections.

The sound is gentle and quiet, Gerry’s slightly cracked voice and acoustic guitar to the fore. He murmurs and wails, comes over like a European folk singer, in fact does pretty much anything with his voice other than sing straight. It sounds quite bluesy a lot of the time – somewhere between some Malian blues and a Native American shaman calling on the spirits – which serves to give mystery and resonance to songs which are essentially quite straightforward. There’s some subtle backing in the sound – credits are given for bass, programming and African thumb piano, whatever that is – and this makes for some gently developed atmosphere, whilst Heather Houston’s understated support in the vocals balances Gerry’s sandpaper voice nicely. In a way, the standout tracks for me are the two that sound like old folk songs; ‘It’s Love That Gets Us Through’ talks nicely about the small, quiet joys of being with the person you love, whilst ‘I’m Going Home’ is the song he’s written to leave behind for those who’ll mourn him, a song of reassurance and peace in the face of death. Both have tunes that seem to lean on something quite familiar. Can’t pin down the first song but there’s ghosts of ‘Hickory Wind’ on ‘I’m Going Home’. In both cases, that sense of familiarity feels like a bonus.

Mostly, these songs talk about love and try to pin down the little bits of magic in the everyday that make you glad to have someone there – and grapple with the age old conundrum of trying to live in the moment, in each moment as it comes along. It’s the stuff you think about as you get older, and old folk need their poets, too.

Footnote: I just checked out the thumb piano thingummy. It's sweet, I want one!
John Davy




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September 2018

1
The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
FC,JB,RK,TJ,LK
2
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
PKO
3
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
FB,JBO
4
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
3
Blue Rose Records
CVL,DHO
5
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
MB,SZ
6
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
FCE,AL,MG
7
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
Independent
SP,DH,RST,RW
8
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
DD,CRS,BM
9
David Olney
32 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music
LM
 
The Black Sorrows
32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
 
11
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
31 pts.
Wild Wild Wild
Bloodshot Records
GS
12
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
 
 
Nathan Bell
28 pts.
Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth
Angry Stick
PK
14
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
As I Fell
Submarine Cat Records
MM,JF
15
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
Gimme Some Light
High Moon
 
 
Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Gall
Locke Creek Records
TK,HDB
17
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
Joy And Independence
At The Helm Records
 
 
Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
Time Flies
Yep Roc
 
 
Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
Tilt and Shine
Crowville Media
MP
20
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Secularia
Red House Records
KG,JJC
21
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
BH,JSM
 
Lucero
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
JJ
 
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
20 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
Independent
MW
24
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Legacy
 
25
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Tree
Cn Records

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