The Alternate Root Magazine

Rob McHale has been nominated, and taken home awards for his work as a singer/songwriter. The real prize with the North Carolina songman, however, is what is felt with his songs, the way his words offer experience, advice and overviews of life. Rob is old school folk singer, his voice a guiding beam on Fields, his recent release, as he begs you to follow memories into the story in the title track. The album delves into history with “Irons and Chains (Dred Scott)”, chance on “Wishing Well” and softly centers its heart on “Mother’s Love”.

Fields opens on a dark day for the soldiers riding with General Custer in “Surrounded Again (General Cluster)” and brightens with tinkling piano and guitar strings as the album heads into the comfort of “Back Home”. Rob McHale wears the skins of his characters; his stories allow for the familiar to be felt as an old friend and the unknown to become family by the end of his song. A riff and rhythm slowly click the tracks under “Fast Movin’ Train” as Celtic beats invade every nook and cranny of early morning 1798 as it dawns over “The Castlebar Races”. Fields focusing on environment by telling a coal tale of mountain top removal, pollution and greed on “Old Smokey”.