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Old 07-19-2008, 07:43 AM   #1
Dave, Melbourne,Australia
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 525
Default Australian reviews of "Painter" & "Tony Rice"

As reviews of Lightfoot albums seem to be the topic of the week, I'll add two reviews from Mike Daly of Melbourne newspaper The Age:

Gordon Lightfoot turned 60 last month, which might explain (but doesn't excuse) why the veteran troubadour's first CD appearance in five years is on import only. The voice may have thinned out and the pace seems more unhurried, but he's still writing and singing good songs. That applies especially to the lovely, autobiographical title track and evocative "Ringneck Loon", as well as painterly pieces such as "On Yonge Street" (Canadians say its the world's longest street, 800Km from Toronto to Manitoba) and the children's ditty "Uncle Toad Said". Lightfoot's acoustic guitars are augmented by his long-time band of Terry Clements (guitar), Mike Heffernan (keyboards), Rick Haynes (bass) and drummer Barry Keane, plus a roster of guests including pickers Bill Dillon and Daniel Lanois (the latter's resonant mando-guitar enriches "On Yonge Street"). I especially liked the gently perceptive "Much To My Surprise" and his affectionate cover of "I Used To Be A Country Singer", but at less than 38 minutes, the disc's underweight for a CD. More please next time, Gord ... and sooner!

Tony Rice is one of the most accomplished, tasteful acoustic guitar pickers around, having played across the spectrum from "newgrass" to folk and jazz, with everyone from David Grisman and J D Crowe to Norman Blake and Emmylou Harris, as well as his own Tony Rice Unit. Over two decades, he's recorded a total of 16 Gordon Lightfoot songs. So here they all are, along with a superb, previously unreleased version of "Whispers Of The North". Rice may carry less vocal power than Lightfoot, but the joy of this collection is its elegant instrumentals, alongside luminaries such as Crowe (banjo), Blake (guitar/mandolin), Jerry Douglas (dobro), Ricky Skaggs (mandolin), Vassar Clements and Sam Bush (violin) plus brothers Wyatt (guitar), Larry (mandolin/guitar) and Ron Rice (acoustic bass). You probably need to be a Lightfoot devotee to recognise many of the songs, apart from "Early Morning Rain" and "Shadows", while "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" is delivered as a stark solo.
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