Jim Keaveny – Out of Time (2014)

Jim Keaveny
Out of Time

Thin line between alt- and country

From the get-go, I knew that I was going to enjoy this album. The opening track, “From Eugene to Yuma” is a bit of a train song, in the best tradition of Willie, Waylon, and Cash, with a rocking beat, scintillating harmonica playing, and the lovely strains of an accordion swinging along like a prairie wind.

This is followed by a harmony and steel guitar-drenched love song called “From the Black” that could have come out of Sun Studios in the mid 1950s, or could at least be part of Roy Orbison’s back catalogue.

I’m already hooked like a salmon on a line, and things only get better with “I Found a Girl”, “Changing”, and “How Was I to Know?” Especially with country songs, I like the lyrics to tell a straightforward story, but sometimes I just have to let that go and let songs like “Parking Meter” and “Lucy Ain’t Got No Arms” just rock along without me reading too much into their inner workings.

While it’s a bit of a left turn compared to everything else here, my favourite track is “Someone to Talk to Blues”, as the dirty pumping beat has my hair standing on end every time I hear it. That is something that doesn’t happen often enough.

So, why have I never heard of Jim Keaveny before? He formed his first band, the Rogues, in his home town of Bismarck, North Dakota in 1991. But, like so many musicians, it wasn’t until 2002 that he actually got a record contract and that was as a solo act. Now, four albums later, we get this heady mix of honky-tonk, Tex-Mex, country and hillbilly that culls from every record he’s ever owned. I defy anyone who listens to Out of Time not to have a smile on their face and a song in their heart as the groove wears out on the sweet finale, “The Yippee-i-ay Song”, which sounds like it was recorded in a Border Cantina as the sun was setting on a Saturday night.


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