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Bob Egan

The Glorious Decline

(Universal Music Canada; US: 29 Aug 2006; UK: Unavailable)

Bob Egan has played with Wilco and Blue Rodeo, which to most people are the distant cousins of the same musical landscapes. Egan is a great pedal steel guitar player, and this is showcased on the world-weary and aptly titled “An Airport Bar on Christmas Day”, which Egan delivers with a Leonard Cohen or Lou Reed-ish monotone. The song takes a Beatles bend two-thirds in with better than expected and heady results. A folksy, warm, and soothing “Montreal” ensues that is just as strong, despite fading out less than two minutes later. Egan doesn’t quite move into the roots rock mold with this album, instead relying on interesting, Orbison-tinged ideas, such as “Spalding’s Lament”. The album deals with various topics such as love lost and life lost to suicide, but it all gels quite nicely. Egan nails instrumentals perfectly, particularly the tender, heart-tugging, Cowboy Junkies-like “The Forgotten Waltz”, which should have been a b-side to “Misguided Angel”. Another dirge-oriented number is the gorgeous “Pleasantville Bar” that refers to a lady dancing to Elliott Smith. After perhaps the “happy-go-lucky” number, Egan returns to what shines on “Drifting Too Far from the Shore”. A glowingly dark and somber effort.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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