Eagle McCall,
Song of the Seas
(independent, 2012)

Eagle McCall has loved the sea all of his life. His father was a naval officer, and McCall's boyhood was spent, he says, soaking up the stories and songs his father's friends brought home from the sea. He performed as a folkie in San Francisco until a need for stability led him to North Dakota, where he operated a chiropractic practice, all the time writing and playing songs in his downtime. In 2006, he sold his practice and moved to Portland, Oregon, with the intention of performing and recording the songs he wrote during his long sabbatical from the folk world.

Song of the Seas is his second album. Made up of recently written songs along with a boatload of traditional material, the songs on this CD concern themselves primarily with the sea -- even if McCall has to rewrite traditional lyrics to make them fit. "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair" gets an updating, for example. McCall sings them in a warm tenor that sounds as if a young Burl Ives and Eric Andersen had a baby. His tone is mellow; nothing on this CD is ever impolite. It is all tasteful, if maybe the tiniest bit slight. The music never leaps or dances; it simply is.

The fact that McCall wrote about half of these tunes is puzzling because he sounds as if he connects more with the traditional material. His performance on "Henry Martin," "Lord Franklin" and "Bonnie Ship, the Diamond" is much more emotional than his performance of his own music.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

2 February 2013

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