Ian McFeron,
Love Me Blue
(independent, 2009)

The Ian McFeron Band has been building a reputation and a following in the Northwest for the past few years. The band consists of McFeron on lead vocals, guitar and piano, Alisa Milner on backing vocals and fiddle, Jon Markel on bass and Mark Bateman on drums. On Love Me Blue, the basic quartet is supplemented by Ty Bailie on Hammond B3 and Ruth Marhsall on cello.

Together the ensemble creates a smooth but edgy sound, one that rocks on the uptempo stuff and sells the mellow stuff without drifting into a predictable groove.

The high point of the band is Milner's fiddle, which glides around the tunes like the beam of a flashlight, lighting up what was previously unseen, calling the shadows to our attention. This woman can play; singlehandedly, she can take an arrangement from pretty good to fabulous. Her playing, though, is never at the expense of the rest of the band but instead enhances what they're doing; she's a vital part of the ensemble.

McFeron, the writer and lead singer, can come up with a good tune and a sound lyric. His writing range isn't all that strong; he writes love songs almost exclusively, but within that range he does good work, coming up with colorful situations, nice metaphors and good turns of phrase. However, the centerpiece song, "The Monkey With the Fancy Clothes" doesn't make it either as humor and satire. Irony isn't McFeron's strong suit. The song gets in the way of the rest of the material. Listening to it, you find yourself asking exactly what McFeron is doing.

The rest of the CD, though, you'll enjoy.

[ visit the artist online ]

review by
Michael Scott Cain

27 March 2010

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