Jim Low always appreciates having somewhere to return to at the end of a journey. That place is called ‘home’ and for him that happens to be in the Blue Mountains NSW.
The memories gathered from places visited, the people met and the new things discovered sooner or later start to inhabit his mind, inspiring thoughts and ideas that sometimes then develop into songs. And the songs on this new album have travelled these various pathways. Some began on the journey, some were finished before the journey ended and some were ideas that needed more time to develop when the journey was long over.
Two Blue Mountains songs serve as appropriate bookends for other songs. The opening song Half an Hour From Midnight snapshots the years Jim spent singing in local restaurants. A new mix of Journey’s End, the title song, seemed the obvious choice to conclude the album.
It’s always a special privilege for Jim to have his songs reach the recording stage. Jim has again been very fortunate to collaborate with Chloe and Jason Roweth. During the recording, Jim appreciated the enthusiasm and sensitivity given to each song by these two very talented musicians.
Recorded in their home studio in Millthorpe, central western NSW, Jim was constantly delighted with the results of their innovative, music decisions. Listen for the subtle, oriental echoes that enhancehis song about the plight of a Chinese gold digger in Just Fair Game and the evocative suggestion of a child’s music box that can be heard in A Special Place. And Jim is sure the old time, Australian country music feel that the Roweths recreate in the song The Man With the Smile and Song, would have greatly impressed Smoky Dawson, the subject of the song.
The accompanying 20 page booklet includes song lyrics, relevant information and photographs. Jim’s daughter Susannah has again worked her magic with the artwork. Jim hopes the booklet adds to your listening experience.
CD review by Chris Spencer
Jim Low is a singer songwriter based in the Blue Mountains.
Jim also describes himself as an author.
I have documented at least 8 albums that he has recorded, beginning with a cassette album, “Mountain Tracks”, released in 1983.
This album was first released in 1992 but has been re-issued on Rouseabout Records in 2016.
Jim composes songs covering Australian history and observations of the environment around him.
There’s a loose theme of journeys and travelling beginning with “Half an Hour From Midnight” which relates Low returning to his home after performing, while “Journey’s End”, which closes the album, tells of returning home to his beloved Blue Mountains.
Looking at the themes of some of the songs, I found: songs about a farm being sold up after a bank forced the sale of the property, originally a poem by Jim Butler; the wreck of The Loch Ard, a tribute to Smokey Dawson, “The Man with the Smile and Song”; an unusual gravestone, “The Broken Soldier”; the poor treatment of Chinese miners on Australian goldfields, “Just Fair Game”; the questioning of allegiance to God and queen, “Honour My God”; an epic early plane journey, “From Oakland to Brisbane”; and, a song dedicated to fellow singer songwriter Bernard Bolan, “Keeping to Uncle Tom’s Time”.
There’s also a song about a local indigenous woman who was a concertina player: “Polly Flood”.
As well as the previously mentioned Jim Butler poem, Low has put two other poems to music: “A Strange Dream”, written by Jim Harper, and “Tooraweenah”, written by Hod Cay.
The album is sympathetically recorded by Chloe and Jason Roweth, who provide the accompanying music.
Together, the Roweth’s play mandolin, bass and electric guitar, as well as providing backing vocals.
They provide sometimes subtle embellishments that are not always evident until repeated listens.
This album is a laidback, gentle affair.
Mostly Jim and his acoustic guitar, unhurried, quietly addictive.