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James Gordon
James Gordon
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What the Press Says...

"Songs that reflect this country's early years, sung with skill and enthusiasm, energy and charm."

-- Canadian Composer Magazine

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 8/99

Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews

...Tamarack member James Gordon's maiden solo effort is a curious amalgamation--his smooth, easy-to-listen-to vocals are quite charming but the variety of subject matter he hoes throughout this release has some especially dark and weedy corners: emigrating with the prayer of a better life, bewilderment about time's passage, animals abused in out-of-character rituals solely for the amusement of humans, insomnia, environmental excesses producing both lost jobs and serious illness, the oxymoron of religious commercialism, both first and unrequited love, national identity, progress and profits at the expense of community, and the struggles of the performing life.

The effect is disarming as his beguiling music eases the listener into a tete-a-tete with rather sobering subject matter. His is not an in-your-face style and his subtlety provides an opportunity for enlightenment without being off-putting.

From: Russ Musgrove
Subject: James Gordon's Pipe Street Dreams

As it appeared on the Canadian Folk Listserve Internet Posting:

I recently received my copy of James Gordon's latest release. I love it. He possesses one of the most distinct voices in Canadian music and puts it to work well on this CD. There are plenty of good songs on this disc but, two struck me personally. His ironic lament, Too Canadian These Days, can be read on two levels. Nationally and personally. It becomes tiresome living up to perceptions whether they are our own or something conceived by someone else. We get caught up in our own mythology and build walls around ourselves based on these perceptions. I'll quote to illustrate what I'm saying, "Got no goals, got no defences... Getting tired of riding fences, that's our national disease." and "I'd do something about it but that woldn't be like us, we're not inclined to shout it Out or make a fuss." and "We prefer to keep them covered up(our feelings) like ice and snow." We tend to be a cool stand-offish people. I know because that song is about me. My passion only comes out when I write and no one can see me.

The other song that I particularly liked and found poignant was, Isn't It Time To Go Home. Perhaps it is a personal song to James. More than likely considering his reasons for leaving Tamarack. This is more than just a song about being road weary. It also has something to say about the folk music world in general, something I've noticed. He says, "The audience is getting older, the winter is getting colder, And it's been years since I was warm or young." and " Too many guys with guitars too many wannabe stars". A very good solo recording full if terrific songs that require close listening. This isn't simple story telling though it can be taken at that level. Put your ear close to the speaker for this and listen between the lines. There is a lot of activity going on in those supposed blank spots.

Cheers, Russ Musgrove.

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