Gary Callahan,
After the Rain
(Puzzle, 1992)

Following on from my earlier review of Death on the Ice, I was delighted to find this earlier release from the same singer and songwriter combination of Callahan and Everett Adams, respectively.

This is an album that is very much rooted in its era but that is not a criticism -- the early '90s produced some good sounds. The song menu is varied and variable. While it is a very nice CD to listen to and contains some very good material, nothing leaps out to shout "hit" or "unmissable."

"After the Rain," the title track, is a good country-based folksy song, well performed, but the theme has been used perhaps too often to expect a fresh approach. Adams as a writer is at his best when he tackles themes that are either personal or epic. With this in mind, give a listen to "Child of Mine," which may or may not be written from personal experience but any parent listening will empathise. Lines such as "I realise I criticise far too easily when you're not pleasing me" bring a flash of realisation to parents and to record reviewers.

There are some fun songs here too, which will spark a note of agreement. "Taxpayer Blues" and "I'm Tired of Working" are titles that give you the gist of the sentiments. Gary Callahan takes the pen in hand as well as the microphone for the final two tracks; "Colville Jail" is in the classic folk/country mode of the wrongly convicted felon and is well worth a careful listen. "Last Call for the Bar," subtitled "Rita's Song," is his other contribution and is a tale of lost love.

I particularly enjoyed "Dreaming Is Still Free" by Adams. This song about the imagination and our ultimate free experience is a delight and so long as Everett Adams retains that sense of freedom and writes songs from the heart, I will enjoy listening.

This is not an album that will set the world alight but it is worth have in your collection for a careful listen and perhaps to prick your parental conscience.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 8 December 2001