'Grace' is the fourth full-length CD released by Fred Gillen Jr. It was recorded live in the studio, solo/ acoustic because this group of songs seemed to call for that. The lyrics needed to be out front. It is a pretty heavy record lyrically, but it attempts to hold some truths up to the light for examination. Musically it is sparse and raw, and the live energy comes through. Dan Bern has a song where he says 'I have a dream of a new pop music that tells the truth with a good beat and some nice harmony' If this CD fits a genre then this quote describes that genre. Fortunately there are currently lots of artists out there working in this genre because the world needs to hear the truth. If you like 'Grace' then check out Dan Bern, Martin Sexton, Leonard Cohen, and of course Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, and see where this music comes from. Thanks for listening! Reviews: If you're scared just take a look at this nut with a guitar singing of his sins and opening his scars packing all his cares into a battered old car and just driving Just driving, and driving and going nowhere And sometimes I get tired of singing these same songs sometimes after all this time they still sound wrong you'd think that I could get it right and finally move on so I keep trying and trying and trying but still I fail Fred Gillian Jr. is a power folk poet. Armed with a guitar and harmonica, he deals with everything he's seen and done by singing about it. It's not always easy to hear. Cancer wards where doctors learn to lie and oncologists drink themselves sick because they couldn't save a couple of lives. The slow infiltration of evil in the world. Alcoholism and drug addiction. He holds everything up and exposes it to the light. It's a hard truth, but I just want to keep listening. There's a vulnerability in his voice and a refusal to step down in the face of fear. I keep thinking of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie. After a while, I get the feeling of hope that always emerges when the ugly truth is stared down. 'Famous' is a good example - a much-needed, realistic voice crying out in a wilderness of celebrity worship. A quiet sense of perspective in the face of glamorama. It's not easy to be famous in this world nearly impossible to be rich and still find freedom. Happiness comes easy when there's nothing left to lose but it doesn't come when there's nothing left to gain. 'Mrs. Waters,' sad as it is, is another example. This is an affectionate look at a widow, seeing the woman who is out of reach because of the way she mourns: No one else could be as holy as you were to me though you're probably just like every widow, waiting patiently for the angels with their wings aflame flying through your window pane answering your calls and finally taking you back to Mr. Waters His fingers fly on the guitar as he tells his stories. This is pure, honest, acoustic folk storytelling with a gritty edge. It stays with you. Jennifer Layton, Indiemusic,com 8/09/03.
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