Sound — 7
Scotland's country-folk crooner John Keenan has returned to Tidbit Music with his latest CD Fool's Crusade, which is only available at Keenan's myspace site (myspace.com/johnkeenansmusic). It is the full length follow up to his 2005 release Hell No. Produced by Markus Wagner (Ann Nyk, Tras Coulet, Cruiserman), Fool's Crusade carries the throaty vocal intonations of Bobby Pinson along fields of ruminating pastorals lulling a Steve Earle grit and bluesy roots rock grooves reminiscent of Morrissey. Keenan's music has Southern rock flinches with a folk-rock vibe. He is like a Southern rock version of Morrissey but not that of America's South, rather from Scotland's South. Keenan was born in Dundee, Scotland and now resides in Edinburgh, both south of the heath embedded hills of Scotland's Highlands. His songs have a country flange in it's rock, soul and folk orientations. Tracks like Night On The Hill and Lost In Her Fiction have rustic guitar tones ensconced in Keenan's misty soulful voicing. Some of the numbers are fraught with contemporary jazz vapors emanating from the saxophone pikes and piano layouts. Keenan's etudes like Girl On Her Own and Who's To Say are studded with spurts of saxophone raptures and light arches along the movements. Keenan's vocals display a soulful resonance reflective of Dr. John on tunes like Half The Man and his cover of Gordon Lightfoot's single If You Could Read My Mind. Keenan has a propensity for mellow atmospheres which cause the album to go several round of tender guitar series and smooth saxophone sloops like More To Loving and Who's Gonna Save Me, which is balanced out by breezy acid jazz uptempo like Not Too Late To Turn and Wishing Well. Keenan shows excellent use of soft soul-riffed female vocals in the harmony parts which buffer the hoarse timbres of his own singing. His songs put locks of rock in his country and tendrils of blues-jazz in his folk musings rigging complementing aspects through the melodies.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are perceptive about human nature and Keenan's own emotions. His lyrical phrases draw connections from his own feelings to those of others. His words break down barricades that people put up which separate them from others and isolate them in their own worlds. His lyrics show that everyone lives in the same world like in the song Girl On Her Own when he sings, She waits for the sunrise and then she'll be gone/ She sips from the bottle cause it eases her pain/ She dusts herself off/ The girl with those eyesShe tries to be strong as tears roll down from her eyes/ Girl on her own. His lyrical phrases are sensitive and look beneath the surface of emotional facades.
Overall Impression — 7
The album is personal and honest, revealing and sedate. He spends several songs mulling over a mellow mood. His lyrics and voicing are cathartic and develop a little diversity in his tempo and instrument schemes. It is an album that is consistent with John Keenan's character and fuses contemporary roots rock vibes with rations of jazz and country creating a synthesis of World music and domestic folk.