|Dimensions||21 × 15 × 1 cm|
John Fegan – Fox Tales – songs from the road
CD review by Jane Bower
John (Fox) Fegan, Queensland singer/songwriter, is better known as one of the members of folk/country rock band ‘Rough Red’ who were one of the first Australian bands to play at major music festivals in Europe.
‘Fox Tales –songs from the road’, released in 2007, is his first solo album.
He has since released a second album ’I Am the Fox’ in 2013.
Fox Tales is an eclectic collection of songs penned by John Fegan in collaboration with three of Rough Red’s members, John Barr, Peter Harvey and Steve Tyson, and fellow musician, Simon Gardner.
One track, ‘A Touch of Fear’ reflecting on one’s vulnerability when in love, is an exception, a cover written by singer songwriter, Kieran Halpin.
The album has an international flavour and songs cover historical, political and personal reflections.
The genre is folk but you won’t hear any predictable alternate verse, chorus, verse songs.
Each track is unique in form with the lyrics being the focus.
The instrumentation is not always subtle but it is always there to support the lyrics.
It is hard to pick a favourite track from Fox Tales.
The opening track, ‘Girls’, reflects on the dilemmas faced when on tour and missing a partner.
Roadhouse Queen and Taxi Driver are studies of dislocated, edgy characters.
‘Harry’s Farm’, ‘In Harm’s Way’ and ‘Freedom Song’ give moving and insightful perspectives on political events that caused personal ordeal in people’s lives.
However, there is no wallowing.
Strength of spirit is celebrated.
There is a beautifully written tribute, ‘The Last Sea Dog’, rich in imagery, to Fegan’s father, who was a mariner and a war hero.
‘Everybody’s Hero’ seems incongruous and a theme that has been visited too often.
I find it hard to feel empathy for the rich and famous protagonist who ‘Just wants to be me’.
The last track, ‘Darksville’, is the best lyrical description of clinical depression I’ve come across and would be as powerful recited as sung, maybe even more so.
Fegan has surrounded himself with old band members, friends and family members to bring together a sound that supports his ideas and gives richness and emphasis to the lyrics.
I love songs with uncommon characters that tell a worthy story and John Fegan’s ‘Fox Tales’ has them a plenty.
Keiran Halpin, a prolific and talented songwriter and performer, sadly died on October 5, 2020.
3 in stock (can be backordered)