A GOOD OLD FASHIONED PROTEST
Timeless and Contemporary Songs of Protest and Hope.
We here at RMHQ loved Texan Keegan McInroe’s 2016 album UNCOUTH PILGRIMS and even though the songwriter himself liked our prose our review doesn’t get a mention on the latest Press Release (surprise, surprise!).
Hey, ho onwards and upwards; the actual title A GOOD OLD FASHIONED PROTEST didn’t just catch my attention; but made me growl, “At last!” through clenched teeth, as apart from a good few individual songs it’s not since we told the world about the Quiet Loner’s 2013 album Greedy Magicians that we have actually heard a complete album of such forceful and direct ‘political protest songs’ and these 9 tracks are just as eloquent and indispensable.
Opening track Talking Talking Head Blues; took me back to the first time I heard the Compleat Tom Paxton in 1971 as Keegan spits out a list of all the things that annoy him about current political life (with and without a capital P) and I found myself smiling and nodding with just about every line.
I just wish I’d listened to this record a month or so ago as Christmas 1914 is a beautiful and delicate song about that Christmas Day which has gone down in history when soldiers sang hymns together and swapped photos and cigarettes; as McInroe takes the role of a soldier who realises that these men and boys in grey uniforms aren’t really his enemy at all; but return to the trenches and the war carries on regardless. Have we not learnt anything in 100 years? #SIGH
Bastards and Bitches shouldn’t be something that I would enjoy; but the 60 seconds go by in the blink of an eye; and I had to repeat the song 5 times to catch every word as the singer recites his ‘poem’ at 100mph.
Nietzsche Wore Boots is a different type of poem; think of McInroe as a 60’s Beat Poet with a belly full of fire and brimstone using the German Philosopher as a modern day Moses. It’s certainly different; but impressive in it’s own way; as is Bombing For Peace; which has a ‘Parental Guidance’ note attached; but sometimes profanity really is the only way to get your message across and when Keegan sings “Bombing for Peace is like F*cking for Virginity’ you get the message loud and clear…..and he’s right of course .
Don’t worry; there are still plenty of contemporary Alt. Folk songs to get your heard around with Big Old River being ‘radio friendly’ until you unravel McInroe’s bitter lyrics; and then you will find yourself punching the air with unbridled joy that someone out there ‘gets it.’ The Ballad of Little Timmy Johnson is a jaunty little tune that is meant to lull you into a false sense of security; but again McInroe’s caustic lyrics will leave you breathless.
The beautiful yet bittersweet The Love That We Give is easily our favourite song here; a simple melody and a weary voice that bleeds passion on a timeless Folk song that has elements of Dylan, Paxton, Cohen et al in it; but is 100% 21st Century troubadour Keegan McInroe at heart.
Now; I also have one huge complaint here; and many of my local readers will stand by me in my righteous indignation ……what else was I to expect when I saw a song entitled Keegan’s Beautiful Dream? My heart skipped a beat as I expected this American singer-songwriter to extol the virtues of Newcastle United’s greatest ever Manager? Ha! Nope; young Mr. McInroe actually uses his own Christian name as part of another wonderful and timeless protest song that needs to be heard by his and your peers on a daily basis.
What a great way to start the new year; 9 highly articulate Protest songs and poems about the need to stop wars of all ilks and persuasions around the globe.
Released UK & Europe January 12th 2018
Released USA April 2017