reviewed by Erik Sedore
Does your family have a spring cleaning day? An annual tradition of conscripting everyone in the household to scrub the floors, reorganize the garage, and clear out the cupboards? Though you may resent having to sacrifice a warm sunny Saturday, there’s also a kind of pleasure in coming together with your family to accomplish something together, and clear the grit and grime away that’s been accumulating. If you’re lucky, at the end of it all you might pull out your instruments and jam together.
On “Grey Rain”, the first track of Richard Laviolette’s Taking The Long Way Home, there’s a rain trying to wash away all the dust that’s settled over his old family home. It’s the sort of song that anyone could join in on, whether on piano, fiddle, or just whatever’s handy in the kitchen that you could shake or bang together. Home might not be what it used to be, but it’s still the centre of gravity that everyone falls back to.
The sharing of music among family and friends is a theme that is returned to again and again. “Two Guitars” is a document of a rainy night getting carried away making music at the kitchen table. “Old Country Music” is a celebration to the old stuff in both sound and sentiment. The whole album finds piano, fiddle, and pedal steel taking their turns leading the songs, but here especially I couldn’t help smiling to myself at all the family memories of needles dragging through the dust on Hank Snow and Ray Price records. Speaking of smiling to yourself, check out “My Grandma’s More Punk (Than Most Punks I Know)”. Growing your own food and making your own clothes do seem more and more like radical acts.
Tucked into the back third of the album is “The Rock And The Moss”, a love story between a nurse and a sailor. Some things are just meant to be together, even if you can’t find the words to explain why you know.
The album’s cover features a dirty pair of shoes on a beat-up old floor. I like to think that pretty soon those shoes are going to be joined by so many others than you won’t be able to cross the hallway with out stepping on them. Just wipe your feet first everybody. And bring your instrument.
Top Tracks: “Two Guitars”; “The Rock And The Moss”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)