- Category: Reviews
- Published on Thursday, 09 June 2011 16:22
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If you liked John Mock’s first album, The Day at Sea, you will enjoy his latest release, The Keeper’s Companion, another maritime inspired musical collection. Mock combines traditional, folk and classical instrumentation in original compositions that feature the artist on classical guitar, the concertina, mandolin, tin whistle and low whistle.
A concertina, if you’re new to the genre, is rather like an accordion. The musician stretches and squeezes it between his hands, pushing air across reeds and using buttons to change the notes. Whistles, traditional Celtic instruments, are woodwinds similar to flutes and recorders. The low whistle is known for its haunting timbre.
The string orchestra in Mock's new release provides a rich background to alternate selections, giving the album more texture than if it consisted entirely of solo performances on the unadorned folk instruments.
As a novelist, I use music to inspire me and this CD fits the bill. Mock titles his compositions with evocative phrases and poetic place names like "The Wee Mad Road," "Fort of the Rounded Hills," "The Ghost of Castle Hill," and "Moon over Pemaquid." On the inside of the cover art, John gives listeners a glimpse of his muse, sharing with us what it was that prompted him to compose the piece.
For me, the music speaks for itself. When I play this album I feel like I’m listening to the sound track for a movie set in a previous century. The music suggests a story, conjures up an image of a young lad or lass setting off on a long journey, or of an old sailor homeward bound.
Linda Collison is a writer, historian, and the author of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series. She sings sea shanteys in the shower. In the video, John Mock performs the title track to The Keeper's Companion. Can't see the video? Click here.
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