Hal Ketchum – Father Time (CD)

“Father Time” is Ketchum’s tenth studio album, and it represents a perfect example as to where Ketchum currently is in eir musical development, and what really is left for eir to conquer with the next ten or so albums. The first track on “Father Time”, “Invisible” is a perfect introduction to 2008’s Ketchum, no matter if the individual listening in is familiar with Ketchum’s previous recording. “Invisible” skillfully blends trends from earlier and modern country music, creating something unique that has something to say to anyone that may be listening in. The instrumentation rises and falls independent of Ketchum’s vocals, but never threatens to engulf to interrupt Ketchum’s vocals.

Rather, the instrumentation lifts Ketchum’s vocals to the next level, something is more easily heard during “Father Time”’s second track, “Yesterday’s Gone”. “Yesterday’s Gone” operates with a back and forth between these two constituent parts; Ketchum’s major contribution to this track has to be in the compelling narrative that is weaved through the entirety of the track. Each line will speak to anyone that has any familial ties; along with the unique style that Ketchum cultivates during this album, the rich narrative that is created throughout, no matter whether it is “Yesterday’s Gone”, “Continental Farewell”, or “The Day He Called Your Name” makes for an album that is a must-buy. “Ordinary Day” is one of the shortest tracks on “Father Time”, barely clocking in at three minutes, but this syncopated length does not mean that Ketchum’s narrative is non-existent or rushed.

The narrative that is created during the aforementioned “Ordinary Day” and “If You Don’t Love Me Baby” provides listeners with some of the most poignant pieces of “Father Time”. The disc’s one cover – where Ketchum takes on Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl” – provides listeners with much of the same touching sentiment. It is a testament to Ketchum’s own skill that eir version of “Jersey Girl” works so well in the larger context of “Father Time”. If individuals were not familiar with the Tom Waits songbook, chances are good that they would just assume that the song was like all of the others on “Father Time”, being written by Ketchum eirself. “Father Time” marks the twentieth anniversary since Ketchum first officially entered the music industry – eir debut “Threadbare Alibis” was released in 1988 – and the evolution from that first album has been amazing. In the next 20 years, I can imagine a similar evolution. Check it out.

Top Tracks: Down Along The Guadalupe, Ordinary Day

Rating: 8.7/10

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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