Like a breath of fresh air Jim Keaveny’s album Out Of Time is a back to basics album of American folk music with some blues, country and a dash of Tex-Mex added to the flavour. Keaveny’s one of those jobbing musicians, restless, a back history of hitching around, a colourful C.V. (fisherman, dishwasher, cook, graveyard maintenance man, brewer and busker) and eventually getting his act together, settling down and picking up his guitar.
Out Of Time is almost timeless with Keaveney’s songs firmly rooted in the dusty Americana canon of freewheeling road songs, small town romance and that old standby, the railroad. Riding the road and the rail he’s accompanied by the spirits of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, John Prine, Chip Taylor and numerous others, no big thing I suppose as one could say the same of numerous contemporaries. Keaveny however stands out from the crowd with the abandon and general sense of glee with which the songs are delivered. While the title song here is a big number production with parping horns and a similarity to Dylan going through the motions the remainder of the album is a gem indeed.
The Dylan thing comes from Keaveny’s voice which does have a nasal twang to it but get beyond that and there’s plenty to enjoy here. The confused agglomeration of guitars on the claustrophobic Parkin’ Meter harks back to cozmic coyboy days while the cluttered horn driven mayhem of The Girl comes across like a cartoon, thrilling indeed as it picks up steam. The meat of the matter however is in Keaveny’s mastery of the story telling steady rolling song with the opening song, Eugene To Yuma a perfect example. It lopes along in classic style namechecking territories as the drums shuffle, guitars brush along and a weedy harmonica roots it in the vernacular. From The Black shuffles along in excellent style with the guitars scintillating in their interplay while Anything Without You hits a fantastic retro groove as it snakes along. There’s stripped back troubadourism on the fine Ridin’ Boots and The Yippee-I-Ay Song while I Found A Girl is draped in a Mexican veil with accordion to the fore, a feat repeated in the standout song, Out Of Sight. Here Keaveney’s voice is attractively world worn as he leads us into a twilight world with huffing accordion and barbed acoustic guitar runs, romantic and evocative as hell. In addition Keaveny throws in a blinding crawling kingsnake blues number in the shape of Someone To Talk To Blues that slinks along with slabs of guitar erupting.