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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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April 2018

1
Courtney Marie Andrews
100 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
PK,CVL,DHO,JB,LK
2
Mary Gauthier
59 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
3
Caleb Caudle
49 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
TJ,TK,MP
4
Western Centuries
48 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
DD,GS,FS,HM
5
Vivian Leva
44 pts.
Time is Everything
Free Dirt Records
 
6
Ed Romanoff
42 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
7
Grant Peeples
41 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental
AN
8
Joan Baez
32 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
 
9
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
29 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
MF,HDB
 
Sam Morrow
29 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
JV
11
Chris Smither
27 pts.
Call Me Lucky
Signature Sounds
JSM,JD
12
Michael McDermott
26 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
CRS
13
John Prine
24 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
SP
14
Mary Chapin Carpenter
23 pts.
Sometimes Just The Sky
Lambent Light Records
 
15
Dean Owens
22 pts.
Southern Wind
At The Helm
PJ
16
6 String Drag
21 pts.
Top of The World
Schoolkids Records
FCE,JS
 
Haley Heynderickx
21 pts.
I Need To Start A Garden
Mama Bird Recordings
 
 
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
21 pts.
Tearing At The Seams
Stax Records
RM
19
Abe Partridge
20 pts.
Cotton Fields And Blood For Days
Skate Mountain
MVP,RK
 
Adam James Sorensen
20 pts.
Dust Cloud Refrain
Continental Song City
BM
 
Ben Reel
20 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
 
 
Chip Taylor
20 pts.
Fix Your Words
Train Wreck Records
LM
 
Kesia Nagata
20 pts.
Looking For Horses
Caramal Productions
GC,EZ
 
Sheesham & Lotus & 'Son
20 pts.
Clear The Table
SepiaPhone Records
SZ,PG
25
3hattrio
18 pts.
Lord of the Desert
Okehdokee Records
 
 
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Make Way for Love
Dead Oceans

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