The outlaw ideals of folk have been replaced by crying over who knows what and Jesus.
Full Skies Records, 2013
3.0 / 10
This shit just pisses me off. Am I grumpy all the time? Or is shit that pisses me off making me grumpy all the time? How can there be that much constant anger from someone who finds so much joy out of the simple pastime of listening to music. Well, start reviewing music for no money and no glory and tell me where you’re at in a few months time. If you still have a shred of sanity and haven’t gone into a downward spiral of listening to music just to clear your ears, then maybe you’re a better man than I.
The thing is, I really wanted to like the album from Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott, Memories and Moments, despite the title sounding like a very special episode of a sitcom or some shitty Lifetime movie. But I started looking at the track list and had immediate reservations. Anytime I see Biblical references in song titles, I instantly bristle. I know that what I’m about to hear is the new dumb movement of thinly disguised Christian folk, stripped of all the folk heroes, drunk roustabouts and legendary characters that made folk so popular; replaced by crying over who knows what and Jesus. Fuck. What did I do to deserve this?
The albums starts off with “Time to Talk to Joseph”, “It All Comes Down to Love” and “Keep Your Dirty Lights On”: all excellent, up-tempo bluegrass jams that contain the wonderful jangly elements that make the genre so much fun. But by the time the snoozer title track “Memories and Melodies” arrives, the album slows to a crawl and never recovers. I swear I could not tell you the difference between the 987249587987495873245 tender ballads that encompass the b-side of the record (go look that up). The album completely lost me by the time it hit the baby boomer redemption song, “Free Again”, and I never made it back. Thank Jah there was only one more track after that.
It’s not that the musicianship isn’t fantastic, it is. It’s not that the songwriting wants for melody or harmony, it has plenty. But this record feels like the up-tempo songs were placed all at the beginning of the album and all other songs were simply slapped on as an addition to an EP. Cut 5 songs from this record and you’re almost to a reasonable release. I guess I just hear things anymore and unless it’s making a big impression on me, I find it hard to recommend to people. Most of my friends wouldn’t listen to this and I won’t either. Until folk returns to its outlaw and song hero roots and eradicates the hidden Christian PG-13 messages, I’m afraid no one making this music will have any type of profound or lasting effect on me.