Terry Penney ‘Once Upon A Blue Moon’ - Citadel House

After a number of critically albums that highlighted Penney’s strong writing and vocal delivery he has, like many an artist before him, decided to take a break and make an album that is a tribute to the artists he grew up with. Inspired by those whose music came from the speakers of car radios, jukeboxes and the record player at home during the 1950s.

Produced by Penney himself it delivers the songs with affection, appreciation and with a clear articulation. However the danger always here is that it is very hard to make these songs totally your own. Often, even at their best, they are too readily compared to the classic songs which have survived in the public consciousness simply because they are so iconic. With names like Buddy Holly, Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry associated with the song choices you can see the possible conflicts.

However taken within it’s parameters and as a whole it is an enjoyable, well executed album that celebrates the simplicity and satisfaction of the songwriting and production of that era and if it serves to introduce any new ears to some timeless music then job well done. It is not however the music that Terry Penney will be remembered for. He, no doubt, enjoyed making this album and it may perhaps serve to reconnect him with the skills required to write great songs and to understand the power of a story well told and sung. Something he already knows but may serve as a refresher course. In that light it will be interesting to see what his next step is. In the meantime this will be something that fans of these songs and of Penney himself will raise a smile and tap a foot along with.

Terry Penney 'The Last Guitar' Self-Release

The fifth album from Canadian singer-songwriter will be released early next year and it is one to look out for. Like most singing storytellers Terry Penney hasn't changed that much about his music rather he has honed his craft of marrying melody to word to create something memorable that has all the hallmarks of a career highpoint. Co-produced by Penny and Craig Young it has a warmth and intimacy that suits these tales that often draw from historic events and memories. There's the Ballad Of The Bayman Riders a song that tells of a brotherhood of bikers, full time rebels who lost their leader and unable to deal with the loss disbanded. The demise of religion in the shape of a disused church is the subject of the cleverly worded Jesus Crisis - "an old and broken building, useless as a dry and dusty well" while the guilt of not being able to serve with his friends is at the heart of I Have Offered. Though from Newfoundland Penny would be at home as a part of the Texas troubadour tradition, exemplified by the likes of Guy Clark. The instrumentation here is largely acoustic with fiddle, accordion, dobro, mandolin, banjo and acoustic guitar well to the fore giving the songs subtlety that well serves the songs and the singer. Though there are times I would have like some of the bite of the electric guitar that featured on Penney's previous albums. Penney's voice has naturally matured since his last album and he is able to bring an expressiveness to his words that draws the listener in. John Flood a song about a highwayman "a desperate thief with a family to feed" that shows Penney's penchant for weaving historical fact and fiction into his songs to give them a sense of depth. Flood was the last man to be hanged in public in Newfounland. This understanding of time and people is matched by a sense of place in songs like Girl From Coal Creek Canyon and Shoal Harbour. The title songs is a paean to the instrument that is central to his making music and details his first hand-me-down at seventeen to his current J-45 and the endless search for that perfect last guitar. On this showing he's doing pretty good with the ones he has, but as with life itself the search goes on.