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Music Review - `Blood Red Moon` by Barbara Bergin (dmac)

Barbara Bergin - Blood Red Moon  (click on image to watch video)

 25 February 2020

 

Black

Barbara Bergin sings with a straightforward, matter-of-fact the vocal style, and many of her songs are set in the South, much of the time sung from a male perspective. Bergin is a storyteller, and few of these songs tell us much about Bergin, the person. Instead, she’s more about getting into the head of another, whether that be a country life-loving modern, as with “My Life’s Good (Cuz I Don’t Live in the City,” or a 19th-century boat captain (exemplified by “Captain of the Robert E. Lee”).

Many of these tracks are built upon rhythmic acoustic guitar grooves. The best of these – and the album’s best track overall – is “Whistlin’ Train,” which is a wonderful expression of wanderlust. This person’s need to keep moving, specifically by train, is sometimes even stronger than romantic love. “I feel her cold hand on my thigh/Her loving words are in my brain/But the only thing I hear is a whistlin’ train,” this restless character tells us. It could be about a literal train, but these words might also apply to almost anything that’s a lifelong obsession. It’s well-written and well-performed. There’s also a first-rate gospel song, “Let’s Get On Up!,” which is performed joyfully with a call-and-response chorus. Bergin reveals a sense of humor with “Daughter’s Lament,” which features this decidedly farmer-like fatherly advice: “Just put your trust in a thick legged horse/And keep ten dollars in your shoe.” In other words, you can trust a strong horse more than “them shiny penny boys.”

 

Instrumentally, Bergin keeps these arrangements relatively simple, and always acoustic. “Like Father Like Son,” for instance, is bluegrass-inspired, particularly due to Darcie Deaville’s mandolin fills. The album’s instrumentation may share a kinship with bluegrass, but Bergin is – at heart – a folksinger, and Blood Red Moon is a collection of relatively timeless folk songs. She’s not a folksinger in the tradition of the politically active kind popular back in the Sixties, but more of the sort that sings story songs in the folk music tradition. A passer down of stories, if you will. Had you told me this album had been written in 1966 or even 1976, I wouldn’t have been surprised. There’s nothing on it that ties it to the contemporary world at all, which is admirable. So, in that respect, it offers a cool manner of musical escapism. 

 

Music Reviewer - Dan MacIntosh

 

Dan MacIntosh - Dan MacIntosh has been a professional music journalist for 30 years and his work has regularly appeared in many local and national publications, including Inland Empire Weekly, CCM, CMJ, Paste, Mean Street, Chord, HM, Christian Retailing, Amplifier, Inspirational Giftware, Stereo Subversion, Indie-Music, Soul–Audio, Roughstock.com, Country Standard Time and Spin.com. 

To Read All of Dan's Reviews, Click Here

 

 

 


 

 

 

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