There is a river running through all music. One stream leads to another. Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by a flood. Sounds like life, doesn’t it. This new album was influenced by life and the changes it brings. The most profound life change is the loss of loved ones. One’s response to change is more important than the change going forward. I was fortunate to enjoy the wisdom and company of my dad for so long. He passed from this life in June, 2012 at the age of 96. It he who taught me how to play guitar. So, the first three songs are old traditional pieces he played when he had a little band. “Cross-Eyed Gal” has several versions and alternative verses that I’d never sing. What’s on the new album are the verses Daddy sang. “Whoa, Mule” also has variations. I added a couple of verses to further confuse things. Some of the lines may not be “PC” by today’s standards, but that’s the way they sang out the country, sitting on the front porch. “Corrina, Corrina” has been recorded by a long list of performers. The first time I heard it was when Daddy played and sang it. I made some minor alterations. Besides my dad, other important people disappeared from this life while I was working on this album. It’s entirely possible that I was working through that grief while writing, choosing songs, and recording. I do think this album has better lyrics than music. I guess I couldn’t hear the music. So, see some songs as poetry. Think of “Your Best Friend” as poetry. I re-recorded “Good Friends”, a cut from my first CD “It’s About the Songs”. I wrote “Good Friends” as a birthday present for my good friend Monty Goff’s 45th birthday. He died November 2, 2011. Most importantly, the project ends on a confident, optimistic note—“There Is A River”.
Jim McNabb has a great voice for telling folk stories in song. In his two earlier offerings here, “IT’S ABOUT THE SONGS” and “NOTHING’S CHANGED – IT’S STILL ABOUT THE SONGS” McNabb captures a message familiar to those of us who listened to Peter, Paul, and Mary. At times a bit frivolous, at times a bit political, and occasionally a bit spiritual, McNabb’s songs are potential anthems for a host of causes. This Austin-ite offers 18 cuts on one and 19 cuts on the other of his home-spun productions. While there is no flashy orchestration and production, Jim McNabb’s messages are to be heard. If you’re a traditional folk music fan who likes a diverse selection and a little Sunday morning with your week, you’ll enjoy these CDs. McNabb is one of those rare musicians who is bursting with song, as is evidenced in SUNRISE OR SUNSET? - an 18-cut reminder of what a truly poignant songwriter he really is. From his liner notes, Jim explains, "...as I was watching the sun setting over the Texas Hill Country, the thought came to me: It looks like a sunset to me, but it looks like a sunrise to somebody else. And, I wondered if you could tell from a picture if it is a sunrise or a sunset? It's either an ending or a beginning, and it's a process of change...". Don't forget to also check out McNabb's previous release called “MACNAB,” so named for the old Scottish spelling of McNabb’s name. This album chronicles many of McNabb’s peeves, exploring subjects that concern us all in an ever-changing world. Highlights include the extremely political “I Turned Away” and the traditional rendition of “Wayfaring Stranger.” The latest in the Jim McNabb discography, DRIFTER, is a collection of darker tunes, giving us much insight into the soul of this writer. Jim shares the feelings that most of us have had in recent times, about the death and destruction going on in the world. He says, “DRIFTER is a result of distractions...I distracted myself contemplating coffee stains on the floor…other times, I could not be distracted because of the killing of children in extremist wars…then, I would distract myself by reaching back into a trove of old memories and writings which would turn into new songs…” Do yourself a favor and get to know this talented artist through his words and music.
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