The Daily Ripple-News Music Ideas

Switch to desktop


Music Review - `By The Risin’ Of The Sea` by James Kahn (ea)

James Kahn - By The Risin’ Of The Sea  (click on image to watch video)

 20 April 2022



James Kahn is a musician who keeps an eye on the big picture. Something of a polymath, he seems compelled to push the envelope, taking his music to the nth degree. His last album, “Matamoros” served as a musical companion to his novel of the same name. His new long-player is 12 song-set devoted to addressing climate change, Covid, and assorted maladies that threaten the human race.

On paper, this seems like it would be a saturnine song-cycle. But in reality, he’s created a dozen rollicking revelations that he’s dubbed “Shanties For Our Time.” The record opens with the boisterous title track, which wraps Celtic instrumentation and freebootin’ vocals around a delicate diatribe that name-checks acid rain, global warming and “bear cubs driftin’ on the floes” and closes with the lachrymose lament of “Sundown.”

In between, songs like “In The Covid Times” and “2020: Ship Of Fools” tackle polarizing pandemic days with wit, grit, gravitas, insistent rhythms and acapella grace. Other highlights include the poignant “O The Ocean Rolls,” which is powered by courtly requinto and honeyed harmonies. 

Then there’s the ramshackle stomp of “On The Other Side.” Strummy acoustic notes and flinty vocals envelope a sad-sack aga of economic downturn, unrequited love and the pitfalls of being tardy. Finally, on “Cast On The Water,” lyrics limn the pleasures and perils of the seafaring life. Meanwhile, the instrumentation is an irresistible blend of acoustic guitar, string bass and hammered dulcimer that bookends brawny and briny vocalese.

“By The Risin’ Of The Sea” effortlessly fuses the personal, political and the planetary and wraps it up in a rich musical tapestry.

Music Reviewer - Eleni P. AustinEleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco.  I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.

I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.

I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver. 

To Read All of Eleni P.'s Reviews, Click Here


Pin It

News aggregator updating headlines throughout the day to top news & Links to international news, social commentary and columnists creating a better world. External links are provided for reference purposes. The Daily Ripple is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites. tlr workshop 2015

Top Desktop version