In a past review I drew a comparison between Chris Mortensen’s vocal styling and that of Neil Young, which Mortensen writes he finds “a bit puzzling.” Well, puzzle onward! For me it still holds true. To my ear on most of the tracks, something in Mortensen’s swoop onto and casual glide over notes still evokes
a bit of Neil Young, particularly in Young’s more recent material where he sings closer to Mortensen’s vocal range. And a certain rock sensitivity on Mortensen’s part is suggested by the presence of the track called “Missing Glenn Frey!”
Basically this release is a mix of ballads and saga songs. Picks include Bob Parson’s “When His Eyes Are Closed,” Randy Abel’s unusual and compassionate “Sgt. Eli’s Silver Mine,” Mortensen’s own “Shawn Wayne” and his “Eight Second Blues.” The offering is enhanced significantly by the instrumental support on varying tracks of Ryan Shupe (fiddle), Bob Parson & Josh Ward (electric guitar), Scott Olson (harmonica & guitar), Ernie Sites (mandolin & acoustic lead guitar), Kelin Gibbons (banjo), Karl Gibbons (dobro), Greg Forbush (pedal steel), Tony Messerly (banjitar) and Zan Summers (drums). Fifteen tracks.
It definitely should please Mortenson fans.
CD: $15 ppd from Chris Mortensen, PO Box 405, Paradise, UT 84328
- by Rick Huff