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on 14 February 2014
Currently this guy backs Jackson Browne and very subtle he is with him too. So it's nice to hear him going solo with some nice ballads and great guitar
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on 21 November 2012
Val McCallum has an impressive CV of guitar-assists having played for these and more: Jackson Browne, Lucinda Williams, Ron Sexsmith, Loretta Lynn, Tim McGraw, Shelby Lynne, The Wallflowers, Natalie Merchant. This album presents him as a strong solo singer-songwriter and performer with a number of stand-out tracks but also more introspective and complex growers. One of the latter variety is fourth track 'Deal With It' with its simply strummed acoustic and a poignant narrative about dealing with death, and then the song ends with the catharsis of McCallum's electric slide providing an emotive peak along with the harmonies that also rise in volume at this point. It is a powerful song and well worth the rewards of careful listening. This is followed by a Neil Young 'Old Man' rhythmic pilfer for 'Ghost Town' where there's more cool slide.

The album opens with stand-out 'Digging For Gold'. This is perhaps the prettiest song melody-wise, with beautiful vocal harmony, but I also like the clever discordant notes in the opening guitar lines, and its layers are further developed by later subtle electric guitar. This is followed by another strong song 'Tokyo Girl' written about meeting his wife Sheli in a bar in Tokyo in 1990. This is also a very simply strummed acoustic song with the simple honesty of romantic confession.

We arrive at the title song as the eighth track and by now the pattern is firmly established: strummed acoustic over which stabs of electric layers open the vistas in the storytelling. It is a gentle and calming view overall, and album closer 'Rarebird' confirms and consolidates this with more complex acoustic guitar playing - relatively speaking - and McCallum's softly sung stories, here ranging into a higher register where it meets more close and varied harmonies. This is a sweet end to a sweet solo outing.
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