Written across 4 continents and recorded during his time in China, these songs share the profound thoughts and transformative experiences of a young songwriter finding his place in the world.
by Martin Kerr
There are two meanings to the title of this album. On the level of our ailing sociey, "I don't wanna be just another man", but as a human soul that is, of course, exactly what I am. 'Just Another Man' means, to me, that art is not the exclusive domain of a uniquely gifted few. It is a universal human phenomenon - the expression of every sincere heart. I believe that our musical future will not be one where individual idols, swathed in lights and artificial glory, look down on adoring mulititudes. It is one where each child grows up with the knowlege that every human heart contains such jewels as beauty, love, truth and faith. One where the sharing of those treasures through sincere and creative expression is a daily delight and the basis of true community. My hope is that by sharing in these few rough, dusty gems of my own wandering heart you may be encouraged to find and give forth more of your own...
by Tara rout, writer and film-maker, Edmonton, Canada.
'justanotherman' is the everyman album. Its author, Martin Kerr shoots high, aiming at such universal themes as love, loss and the human condition. For a debut album, and from one so young, the potential for disaster in such an endeavour is palpable. Think seventeen-year-old Avril Lavigne telling us "Life's like this..." And a disaster it would be if it didn't ring with such truth and poignancy; if it weren't peppered with such disarming juxtapositions as, "It's not enough to have temporary joy, I'll be your rocket boy.."; if Kerr himself were not the talent he has proven himself here to be. Imagine a Leonard Cohen of post-grunge Brit-pop - Cohen, but with faith. True to his Baha'i roots, from the quotations in the liner notes to the single Hidden Word, 'O My friend in word!" Kerr manages to remain accessible to any audience. We wait for the cringe-inducing clichés, but they never come. Even the
Hidden Word, a favourite subject of the Baha'i songwriter, is fresh in its lack of the simplistic sing-along quality of so many of its predecessors. For the most part, Kerr's religious convictions simply underscore and add colour to otherwise inclusive motifs. He pulls this off by avoiding the pitfall of writing overtly about his faith. While fellow Baha'is will recognise his references in such lines as, "We pray the light of unity envelops the whole earth," others will identify with the tales of his individual plight with which he so seamlessly weaves them. The music itself shares a similar quality of being clever but not unfittingly brainy. It is innovative enough that it does not get old quickly, or sound like every radio hit, yet not so much so that you don't feel like singing along. In fact, listeners should be warned that they may find themselves singing any number of the songs on this album long after it has stopped playing.
The lyrics are insightful, honest and bravely personal. The songs are unified, stylistically and thematically. The melodies are at once inventive and catchy. The worst thing I can say about this album is that it may leave you not wanting to listen to anything else. That said, 'justanotherman' belongs in just about every collection.