I Don't Want This to End
Having engaged musicians from as far away as Liverpool, a poet all the way from British Columbia, and assembled a fine men's choir, The Last Cast is Cayn's most eclectic collection yet. This album goes beyond the river, into the forest, the hills, and even the sea.
There have been many favorites from Cayn's past work, but "Jack Pine Savage" stole that spot for me upon the first listen. Alan Cayn is a superb storyteller. Here he weaves a tale of a man who finds his way back to the woods, to nature, to living a simple life. The musical presentation is impeccable in its simplicity - a man and his guitar. Perfect.
"Mon Carpe" is another tune to leave you smiling, complete with Cajun Accordion and sung in French. This is the only love song to a fish this writer has ever known.
Alan Cayn's live performances with his Appalachian dulcimer tug his audiences back in time and so on this album he does the same, with "Song of the Wandering Angus," his lovely rendition of the traditional folk tune and poem by William Butler Yeats. Another poet featured on The Last Cast is Mag MaWhinney, a cowboy poet and songwriter from British Columbia. I had the pleasure of hearing Mag recite her poetry for the internet radio audience, and was instantly moved by her insight into life. For "Crazy World," Cayn has arranged the musical accompaniment to make Mag's words, and the listener, dance.
Zanzibar, cowritten by Cayn and Gabrielle Monk, features the band Good Intentions from Liverpool, UK. Good Intentions sets the tone for this story of love left behind, and it is the mandolin floating through the lyrics of pirate ships, empty glasses, and a life run aground, that keeps the listener believing maybe all hope is not lost.
Included on this album is ”Appalachian Trail," written and sung by Tom Phipps. It is a nice complement to Cayn's songs, reflecting his love of nature and spending time outdoors.
No Alan Cayn album is complete without an a capella performance or a little humor. Here we have both, in two songs. The first is "She Looked Good in Waders." This and "Hapless Wader Revisited" are two of Cayn's classic fishing songs. Cayn is joined by the Hapless Wader Choir for this treatment of his story of the fish getting the best of the fisherman.
The Last Cast comes to a close with the title track of the nine, "Last Cast/Riparian View," and the lyric, "I don't want this to end / I wish this could go on forever / just me being all alone / standing here in this river." I didn't want it to end either!