CD review by Eric Ford -Folk ‘Til M’night EBIFM 103.1 and The Folk Show –Radio Adelaide 101.5FM
I first met/saw Pat Drummond in the Autumn of 87. He was performing on Sunday afternoon in a hotel in Sydney’s Rocks area. Just Pat, a guitar and a music machine! I met Karen at the National a year or so ago. They both perform and record individually and with others.
This is their second collaboration. I’m stuck on whether this is Australian Country or Folk Country. Both Pat and Karen perform at Country and Folk Festivals, so does it matter what the genre is? It simply is a quality recording, that’s the most important thing! All the songs are written by Pat including one a collaboration with Brent Parlane.
The songs cover– as you’d imagine–the whole range of Country Folk—Trucking, Love-lost and gained-Virtue and Decency- Faith and the Land. Not to mention Australiana- War-Disaster and last but not least a Bunyip!
The musicianship is first class. I especially loved the fiddle and guitar intro to ”Calling Me”. Simple and uncluttered. Karen’s voice, as clear as a bell, ranges from pensive to hope along the way (on different songs) expressing longing, apology (on “Arrogance”). Pat matches this with the addition, where appropriate, of brusqueness and the occasional rasp.
Standout tracks for me are the aforementioned “Calling Me”, “Arrogance” (a personal song of Pat’s faith), “The Bridge” which uses a 200 year old tree as a ’recorder’ of history and hope for the coming together of Indigenous Australians and immigrants.
“Dreams” delivers the message that our dreams are ours and shouldn’t be discounted because they may appear unattainable. “The Darling Downs” and” Spirit of the Southern Cross’ are Australian bush songs. ”Eighteen Wheels” is a truckies song with a nautical bent and sets the course of the album, no pun intended.
There is a strong though understated religious content to many of the songs, emphasising Pat and Karen’s faith without proselytising. Some may find this disconcerting, I did not.
The duets work, paying tribute to Pat and Karen’s sensitivity to each other and the songs. The solos are simply fine.
This is a well crafted CD by two people who are obviously comfortable with each other, their music and their voices. No steak knives with the CD, but in the words of those(crass) adverts—Buy Now!!! To Pat and Karen, thanks for the privilege and more please.