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James (Jim) McCarty - Sitting On The Top Of Time CD (album) cover


James (Jim) McCarty


Crossover Prog

3.10 | 2 ratings

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3 stars This 2009 release is the end result of several years of studio sessions recorded in Toronto during gaps in YARDBIRDS' tours. Canadian flautist Ton Korb plays a major role both as performer and behind the scenes, melding his gentle varied woodwinds to the soft rock sound already established by McCarty and renewed every 3/4 of a decade or so, on an as needed basis. And need it we do.

Again, perhaps even more so than on "Out of the Dark", this is an almost incessantly mellow album that skirts the fringes of new age both musically and lyrically, but, while it is somewhat more sprawling, it retains the same dark optimism if you will, of a man coming to terms with his place in the grand scheme of things. It is imparted in a manner neither preachy nor shrouded nor cliched, but with a beguiling clarity. Still, if your progressive rock must be igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic, you'll want to steer clear.

The music is reminiscent of early RENAISSANCE and ILLUSION, with acoustic guitars and pianos often forming the base, and an able rhythm section more than ready to fill in on those tracks where larger items need to be moved. Flutes and the occasional cello and other orchestration impart additional delicacy and care. A caring reverence is imparted in every note and vocal breath..

More space is allowed for instrumentals, the most impressive being the piano dominated "Hidden Nature" and the 7+ minute closer "Shangri-la", but these are not for the impatient, as they unfold gradually and subtly, and never really bust out. The flutes so critical to the atmosphere in these tracks bring to mind the work of HEVIA from Asturias in Spain, such is the connection within the Celtic diaspora. For the vocal tracks led by McCarty himself and his unassuming timber, "The Outsider", "Living from the Inside Out", and "Calling out to you" could all be classics in a just world, supported by delicate electric guitar work by the STEVE HACKETT" and JEAN-MICHEL KAJDAN, as well as Korb. These would probably be of more interest to the RENAISSANCE/ILLUSION fan who doesn't just like them because of their angelic female singers. The title cut and "Blowing Through the Countryside" both seem trite in comparison, while "Hummingbird" fails to generate any of the buzz one would expect from the tiny winged creature.

While not attaining the top layer of soft crossover prog comfortably occupied by "Out of the Dark", this disk provides a panoramic look down at the long gone days with loving kindness. 3.5 stars rounded down for this site.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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