Lennie Gallant,
Breakwater
(Revenant, 1988)

All it took was hearing Lennie Gallant once.

After enjoying the Prince Edward Island singer-songwriter's performances at Celtic Colours 2002, I knew I'd have to start collecting his recordings. (Fortunately, I met his agent the next day, and soon a full set of Gallant's recordings was headed our way.) I decided to start my journey early in Gallant's career, and soon 1988's Breakwater was solidifying my original notion that Gallant was a talent I'd overlooked for far too long.

Everything on Breakwater is a Gallant original, with the exception of one song, "Raise the Dead of Wintertime," by Allan Rankin.

The album starts with "Tales of the Phantom Ship," a nautical ghost story that evokes incredibly vivid images of a burning ship at sea. "Island Clay" is a touching look at the bond between a man and his house and land. Rankin's "Wintertime" is a lyrical picture of the scene. "Back to Rustico" explores the yearning a person feels for home when times are hard.

The whole album's like that. Gallant doesn't just write and sing good songs, he ties his lyrics to people and place in a way that makes you feel like you lived those moments with him. As a bonus, the CD includes a 1991 live recording of "Destination," Gallant's popular, driving train song.

Breakwater is so good, I know I'm going to enjoy the rest of the Gallant experience.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 8 March 2003

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