|"One," produced by James McCandless and Victor Sanders for Lakeside Media, catches the attention of the listener from note one and just won't let go. McCandless wrote all the material except "Top of The White Rock/Morn's Return and "Waxie's Dargle/Sailor's Hornpipe." He plays guitar and takes all the vocals, well supported by Julianne Macarus on violin & viola, and Meg Thomas on percussion, with Sanders assisting on guitar and Jimmy Moore holding things down on solid bass.
"My Eyes /Ve Free," the first track, garners attention immediately with a wonderful guitar intro leading into McCandless's vocal. The lyric is as tasty as the guitar riffs, illuminating a songwriter who has placed his words carefully to convey his message. I love McCandless's vocal on this tune. The importance of the violin part in setting this mood cannot be understated. "The Fragrance of Cold Water" changes pace from the previous vibe, with a traditional feel that is supported by the violin and the placement of instrumentation. Ihe production by Sanders and McCandless shines on this piece, which is always the last member on any group recording, able to make or break a tune.
"One Too Many," unfolds lightly with a stark vocal, which is supported very well by Macarus's application of stringed instruments. "Poor But Honest" harkens back to the first cut, with a dusty feel of hard times and a lyric that makes one think. I like McCandless's use of his voice as another instrument, and he always allows the lyric to shine through. I'm getting the sense that James McCandless pays attention to folk music that makes a statement on our collected lives. Great images raise interesting questions on this cut.
"The Boy" might be my favorite tune on the collection. It comes out of nowhere, allowing the sound to find its way in silence. McCandless's vocal is set up with understatement, and the instrumentation adds a haunting feel that is filled with understanding of the human condition. Leonard Cohen would be proud of this cut, as it could be in his catalog easily. "I Am Here" is another cut in that traditional vibe which reveals McCandless' belief in his own material. This tune is just plain daring in its writing and production, which is what we hope to accomplish as artists.
"The Tyger" is a fun bit of a ditty with a folk fill that soon unfolds into a now style of production, taken to the next level by Sander's guitar work and Meg Thomas's percussion. Nice work Meg! "One," the title cut, unfolds as the first track did, and is an excellent closing tune, one that illuminates all the aspects that are very cool aobut McCandless's vision of his work. Stark production with thought out lyrics. well placed instruments that allow his story to unfold while allowing the listener to anticipate all of the sounds contained within.
James McCandless has created a cohesive piece of work, supported by production and tory artists that supports that vision.