Jane Fallon,
Faces
(self-produced, 1999)

Jane Fallon is a new name and voice to me but she has a lot to say and is worth listening to. The album offers very little information on the singer-songwriter and the songs, although the lyrics are provided in a variety of typographical formats, which offers a nice change.

Fallon sings in two voices -- a sort of forced high pitch and a more normal tone. I love the latter but find the other distracts from her very important stories.

"Too Long Too Blue" is a sort of folksy-country song of lost love that poses the question of what we would say if given the chance to speak for one minute to the object of our affections.

"Giovanni's Song" is one of those songs that make any album worthwhile. It is said to be based on a poem by a Brazilian street child who was murdered by the police in Sao Paulo. It is a very sad song but tells a story we must heed. A child is a child in Sao Paulo, Brazil, St Paul, USA or any other town and deserves life. Giovanni gets second-hand clothes, second-hand food (left overs) and he is grateful but "the only thing I ever wanted was first-hand love." This is truth in music, the reason for folk songs.

Fallon in "Ashes" revisits lost love of the romantic kind, but her sharp edge re-appears in the following track. "Quiet Desperation" is another story song that deserves a much wider audience. It is the tale of Joni, "the prettiest girl in Cavanaugh County," and Johnny, "the only boy she ever knew." But this is not a fairy tale, this is life in the brutal modern world -- the world of drink, violence, emotional deficit and death. "Quiet Desperation" is the sad tale of domestic violence, a hidden plague that everyone knows about but few acknowledge. "Everyone came to the funeral and said it was lovely and bitterly wept over Joni's motherless child."

But Fallon is not a dark nemesis of folk songs, she also has her lighter moments and these are reflected in "I'm in Love." This is a fun track about a rather selfish love but not an unheard of variety. "You may not have two thoughts to rub together but if you can fix my car I'm in love." "Faces," the title track, is another perceptive song about life and love.

This is an excellent CD. It is a combination of the fun with the sad, and it makes comment on social ills that are well known but seldom given space in our minds and thoughts. I suppose in that sense it is thought-provoking, and what better accolade can a songwriter have than being capable of such power in our modern world?

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 26 January 2002



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