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McCarty, Jim: Walking In The Wild Lands

No matter that Jim McCarty formed bands like Renaissance, Box Of Frogs and Shoot, he'll always be best known for his past and present time behind the kit with rock innovators, The Yardbirds. However, as it's easy to see from what the drummer, singer, acoustic guitarist and song writer did in between times, there's much more to this man than being the rock steady beat behind hits like "Heart Full Of Soul" or "For Your Love". Waking In The Wild Land is McCarty's third solo album � the first coming, in a career dating back to 1963, as recently (and long ago) as 1994 � and it provides quite a journey.

Even though he reformed The Yardbirds in the nineties, to expect Walking� to be the jagged, raw pop rock of old would be unwise and it's to McCarty's credit that he completely avoids retreading old ground here. Instead he serves up crafted, gentle American rock that you could imagine Neil Young providing if he took a chill pill. The vibe is easy, but the substance is too deep to blow away on the breeze, instead the likes of "Stop Living life In The Past" billows proudly as it stands up strongly against the stiffest of storms. The message is clear, live for the now, remember the past, but don't long to still be there � and from a man with such a heritage, it's a powerful reminder. "Connected" adds a jaunty Britishness to proceedings, The Kinks maybe brought to mind as piano insistently burrows deep below the song's surface, whereas the slow and considered "Charmed" alludes to something a little more 70s, Guido Basso adding a subtle and beautiful flugel horn solo to the strum and hum of the song itself. Rush's Alex Lifeson shows up on the classy sting of "Soft In A Hard Place", lending a surging guitar solo and 'synth guitar textures' to the meander of organs from Tom Reynolds, while George Koller offers up well placed bass runs, as he does throughout. Although it's the mellow almost Harry Nilsson like opening title track and echoing, involving and beautifully violin infused (by Drew Jurecka) "Changing Times", which really illustrate the class on show.

With a huge catalogue of work behind him, it would be easy for drum legend Jim McCarty to simply rest on his laurels and hark back to days of yore. Instead he's taken some classic themes and invigorated them with an enthusiasm and love of the here and now. It may be gentle and soothing for most of its duration but when Jim McCarty goes Walking In The Wild Land, it's a trek you should join him on, every step of the way.

Track Listing
1. Walking In The Wild Land
2. Changing Times
3. Mountain Song
4. Right On The Road
5. Charmed
6. Soft In A Hard Place
7. Dancing Leaves
8. Stop Living Life In The Past
9. In The Clear
10. Connected
11. Come Around The Corner
12. So Many Questions

Added: June 11th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Walking In The Wild Land @ Angel Air
Hits: 2482
Language: english

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McCarty, Jim: Walking In The Wild Lands
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2018-06-12 04:24:54
My Score:

Jim McCarty, perhaps best known as the drummer for the ‘60s rock band The Yardbirds has been involved with a number of bands since including Renaissance, Shoot, Box Of Frogs, Stairway and Illusion. He also reformed The Yardbirds in the ‘90s and still tours with the band. Quite impressive indeed.

On his new album Walking In The Wild Land McCarty (vocals and acoustic guitar " tracks 1-12, drums " tracks 4, 10) has surrounded himself with a superb cast of supporting musicians including George Koller (bass), Tom Reynolds (keyboards), Ben Riley (drums and percussion " tracks 1, 3, 8, 9, 11), John Hawken (piano " tracks 4, 10), Steve Lucas (bass " tracks 4, 10), Mark Newman (guitar " tracks 4, 10), Chris Hall (steel guitar " track 4), Guido Basso (flugel horn - track 5), Alex Lifeson (lead guitars and synth guitar texturing - track 6), Hugh Syme (orchestral arrangement, keyboards, additional guitar " tracks 2, 7, 12) and many others too numerous to mention.

There are many highlights to be had including the album opening title track. The pleasant acoustic guitar, piano and lead vocals are so easy on the ears it is really quite delightful. I love the easy going flow here and when the violin enters it only adds to the song’s poignancy. With “Changing Times” the deep strains of violin and pretty acoustic guitar add a melancholic sound to what is a lovely but mournful track. The orchestral arrangement is lush and heartfelt. On “Mountain Song” McCarty leans towards psychedelic folk with his plaintive acoustic guitar and dreamy backing vocals shrouded in an aura of psychedelic goodness. The psychedelic dreamy folk sound continues with the unbelievably poignant “Right on the Road” with lyrics to match. The piano and steel guitar accompaniment, courtesy of Chris Hall, is just about perfect. Swirling keyboards and piano begin “Charmed”, another melodic and dreamy folk tune. Again, McCarty picks just the right instruments to supplement the sound, in this case Guido Basso’s flugel horn. Also of note are the wonderful lead and backing vocals. Alex Lifeson’s guitar work on “Soft in a Hard Place” adds a biting contrast with the song’s overall mellow almost country-like sound. Another excellent track.

Walking In The Wild Land is a superb album and easily earns an excellent four star rating. It just goes to show the old guard is still very much relevant in today’s music scene.

An Angel Air Records production.

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