Mike and I are reviewing this CD and posting the results at the same time. So, you lucky kids, you get to go right here to his site and read his thoughts on this record too!
Long-time fan of Paul MacLeod over here, folks. We used to go see him in the basement of the Walper Pub in 1998/99… I remember taking my lovely wife, who back then had only just become my lovely girlfriend, to see him play. I know we bought his Sidetrack Café CD directly from him at one of those gigs… Anyway. Every release of Paul MacLeod’s is reason for excitement in our ranks and this record is no exception. Every time I hear this, I love it completely.
Be My Girl always surprises me, the vocals sound like him in inflection, but the pitch and the little bit of growl can make me think it isn’t him. Also, the tune itself makes me think of Big Rude Jake and that pleases me greatly. Change Your Life is a pretty, strummy tune, and here his voice is sort of mid-range to what I’m used to from him. This is a great tune built for more than campfire fodder.
December is a plucked guitar workout, and lyrically a blues – just a damned pretty song all around. And here is the voice I know! Also, “I wanted to assassinate December…” is such a great line. Hero is next, and damn he’s flying now! The electric comes out and away he goes with that tricky guitar work, slight echo effect and brilliant words again, all complete with one person clapping at the end.
The Trickster brings back the acoustic, to great effect since its in tandem with that soaring vocal he does that grabs your ear and holds it. The lyrics here are a songwriter’s dream. Instrumental seems a simple little run of chord changes and a riff, until it becomes apparent that, if you step back and see it big picture, the melody’s also an acoustic guitar rendition of MacLeod singing. Brilliant!
Stop is a gorgeous acoustic tune that I never want to stop, every time I hear it. The harmonies, the… everything. Love it. Another White Band’s energy is great because, while your ear is waiting for a full band to come crashing and take this into the stratosphere of rock, you realize very quickly that it doesn’t need it. It’s got verve and grit all on its own, thank you very much. Even the lyrics say so: “we don’t mean harm but we just don’t like the sound of Another White Band trying to sing this whole world down.” Amen. All you need is Paul and a guitar, folks. Get ‘er done!
And, as if all of this wasn’t enough, there’s one more tune, the excellent It Belongs To You, with its plucked electric and really uplifting words. I love how it ends the CD with hope, and on a note that suggests the next note is yours to make.
Gauge is freaking fantastic. So are the rest of Paul MacLeod’s albums. Go and get them all, and tell them the KMA sent you.