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John Train

Mesopotamia Blues

(Chapter 7 Records; US: 25 Sep 2007; UK: Unavailable)

John Train’s latest album is a rock-meets-blues romp that plays quite well to his means of turning a phrase. “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia” seems to fuse both of said genres with a touch of roots and folk added to spice things up. Train constantly throws sonic curves to keep the listeners on their toes, as is the case with the rambling, Middle Eastern-tinted “Equipment Failure” and the gentler, Brit-folk feel of “Leachman’s Ghost” that ambles along. Perhaps the first true head-scratcher is the poppy “Mulloy 2006” that doesn’t seem to mesh well given the lyrical content. Fortunately, he returns to his strength with a memorable rendition of “The Kind Merchant”, and a delightful cover of Tom T. Hall’s “Mama Bake a Pie”. Most of these songs have a theme of war behind them, yet the highlight of this collection is the edgier, roots-rock, Wilco-ish vibe oozing out of the gorgeous “Yo Ho Ho”. The biggest drawback is the elongated and tedious “Look Her in the Eye” which loses momentum over the course of seven minutes and change.

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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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