In 2018 I was delighted by the wonderful atmosphere of the album “Prophets On The Boulevard”. Rob McHale, the singer / songwriter / folkie living in North Carolina, was responsible for this. On October 25, 2019 I was able to personally convince myself of the power of his songs when I saw him live. Yes, it was a nice experience, not only to have met a very personable person, but also to have attended a very special kind of history lesson. He gave me this EP, released in 2016.
Rob turned out to be a true storyteller and spoiled with background information about events in the area in which he lives. Historically very knowledgeable, the artist presented songs that reflect American history, be it stories about Jesse and Frank James (“The Ghost Of Jesse James”), about General Custer (“Surrounded Again [General Custer]”) or about certain families who shaped the early settlement history of North America. And so the bow is made to the album Tom Dooley And Friends. As Rob said, Tom Dooley was once hanged near where he lived. His real name was Thomas Dula.
On this EP, the musician uses five songs to tell stories about the criminal case at the time, which probably ended in a wrongful verdict. For the individual songs, you can take the lyrics in the booklet and, among other things, learn something about the victim, Laura Foster (# 3). The lyrics are to be understood as a historical view of the history of that area, musically very sensitively and harmoniously implemented.
Rob plays his music in a soft voice, and again I can’t help but notice that the atmosphere hits me deep in the soul and in the solar plexus. The artist manages to create a feeling of familiarity and closeness, as can arise in a living room concert. Good friends who sit together and also make music. Yes, I would like to be there and the mood of the live concert comes back to me when I listen to it. This music is mostly performed very calmly, is very rooted in folk and is equipped with the best ingredients of the singer / songwriter genre, always with a little pinch of old country music, and a hint of bluegrass.
For the rest, everyone involved is shown on the cover of the CD as follows, from left to right: David Merck (the painter of the cover), Daniel Boone, Jesse James, Tom Dula, Laura Foster, Rob McHale, Julia Shumake.
Music and Such Magazine