Shane Jackman,
(Highway, 2000)

Shane Jackman is a new name to me, although his PR sheet reminds that after half a million miles of touring and a thousand concerts he is far from a new performer.

The title of track 2, "Uncommon Eloquence," sums up this Salt Lake singer-songwriter because he has that very quality in spades. Some of the lyrics seem almost to be written for me to quote as proof of the quality of his writing and where it appears to come from. "Yes I am a lover of words, I drink them in every chance I get." Luckily for us he not only takes them in but he transforms them, sets them to music and gives them to us.

He is an observer of life that many people will respond to. In "The Angle of Repose" he shines a blinding light on love going stale: "They say 'I love you' every night, but they touch so seldom anymore, from when the kids were young and restless, they're still afraid to close the door."

I could quote similar lines from each and every track on this CD. Each song has a message or a story to tell and every one is worth our attention. Jackman writes from the heart -- or else he is a very clever lyricist. Even the titles that he gives to the tracks are poetic and even what sounds like a comic title, when we really consider it turns out to be sadly profound -- when do you have "Cornflakes for Supper"? And the packaging of this CD is likewise as eloquent with very atmospheric photography. Unfortunately, the designer went overboard with the lyrics printed at all sorts of angle.

This album will appeal to anyone who likes good English, strong stories, lyrics that mean something and a voice that is easy to listen to.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 10 August 2002