DIARY - 3 MARCH 2010 - LUKE O'SHEA CD REVIEW
O'SHEA CD REVIEW
PRODIGAL SON (GUMTREE)
PRODIGAL SON SHINES
troubadour Luke O'Shea indulges in biblical passion on the entrée
title track of his fourth CD.
Teacher O'Shea comes from the old school where fear of God was a weary
weapon wielded to ensure paternal wishes were obeyed.
So his character rebels with relish.
"I feasted on the fattened calf and set about my chores/ I swore
away my sinning and all my wicked, wicked ways/ see I'm trying to be the
good son but I was not made that way."
But, like a lot of lusty lads tempted by sins of the flesh, the singer's
character reaches back a generation and sings of the trusty courting of
grandparents at community HQ - the town hall - in Pride of Erin.
It's here that time travel in waltz mode, embroidered by Gary Steel's
accordion and Tony O'Neill's fiddle, deliver us to a simpler era and sense
of community we rarely revisit in the cities except in times of crisis.
Like right now.
But O'Shea and co-producer Phil Doublet wrote this and biblical finale
Motel Room where "the bible in the drawer holds the promise
of so much more."
MARIA AND ROSEMARIE
in O'Shea's songs are not all sinners but the promiscuous princess in
Maria and giant slayer in Covet Thy Neighbours Wife writhe as little
escapes the small town lens.
But Maria, name checked in many country songs, doesn't see herself as
a victim - "a little rough around the edges, no white picket fences/
but honey I'm still a diamond/ uncut and unpolished/ but I'm alive with
It's a sibling song of Rosemarie's Eyes where a single mother has
no self pity - "see I've got much to give, Lord/ I've got so much
to live for/ and I pray one day I'll find/ a man who'll see what's behind
O'Shea's research is not confined to vignettes inspired by barroom Rosemaries.
Materialism and worldly possessions are no passport to heaven in How
Well Have You Loved?
O'Shea's strength is the credible characters that he creates - the truckie
with not his long suffering wife on the dashboard but Elvis and Slim -
And pathos primed Annie O'Shea where the city woman finds love
with one of two brothers on 1200 river bend acres at Boggabri but meets
her Waterloo as her shearer husband dies of a stroke and she's stranded
on a railway station with two children and the toughest decision of her
O'Shea praises Sam Phillips and roots music pioneers in Midnight Train
(Days Of Sun) and tills a weather metaphor for love in Good Thing
But there's no metaphor - just constant drought - that forces a fifth
generation farmer to walk off the land in Shadow Of A Cloud (The Ballad
Of Swan Hill) and then deliver summary justice to a banker in a fatal
farm foreclosure in riveting Bushranger.
It's country music at its best - powerful narratives drive the train on
an accessible soundscape where the music never muffles the message.
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