Review of Broken Moon (CD) by John Lilly (JL2000)
Stark and beautiful, April 19, 2002 - 5 out of 5 stars
Reviewer: eafinct from West Hartford, CT United States
John Lilly ranges from cowboy ballads to Primitive Baptist hymns to Tin Pan Alley and back, all with spare but pristine accompaniment on guitar, mandolin and fiddle, and with harmonies on some cuts by the remarkable Ginny Hawker. The genres and rhythms on the album may be varied, but the overall consistency in instrumentation and delivery give it an amazing cohesion. The careful arrangement of songs on the disc, too, produce a song cycle which is a musical and spritual journey from heartbreak and disappointment to solace and redemption -- with a dash of humor and yodeling for good measure.
Be sure to check out the title cut, "Broken Moon", which deserves to become a classic heartbreak ballad alongside Bob Wills and Hank Williams standards, as well as "I've Always Been a Rambler", which is delivered with a fierceness and intensity which gives a startling immediacy to this traditional self-justifying gambler's lament. And the closing original, "Spirit (Bend Close to Me)" should find a place both in churches and in your own personal collection of music to get you through the night.
Fans of Jimmie Rodgers, Hazel Dickens, Hank Williams Sr., and the Stanley Brothers should be sure to take note; fans of contemporary Americana music will not be disappointed. And if there is any justice in the universe, the folks whose ears have been opened by the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack will have a chance to enjoy another example of acoustic music from the first half of the 20th century embodied in a contemporary voice. Very highly recommended!