Music Road Records (label)
29 October 2012 (released)
13 November 2012
There are eight new tracks on Jimmy LaFave’s first studio album for five years, but is one of the five cover versions that dominates. Two tracks into Depending On The Distance is the nine minute epic Red River Shore, a strolling acoustic ballad about “tasting jilted love” and “the one I will always adore”. The Bob Dylan tale of a lost love and missed opportunity climaxes with a sumptuous understated guitar solo with an added celtic flavour. It is a beautiful take on one of Dylan’s lesser known songs (it was an outtake from Time Out of Mind).
The reason for picking this track out first is because it forms a focal point to the album, but surrounded as it is with shorter, less ambitious country tales, it is not typical of what is here. True, it is one of three Dylan covers (I’ll Remember You and Tomorrow Is A Long Time are also featured) but its epic beauty outshines everything else before or after. Not that a lack of ambition elsewhere is a bad thing, indeed the opening Clear Blue Sky is a beautiful song that washes over you like a soothing bath on a winter's night.
Elsewhere not a pick or a pluck are out of place on the tender Vanished and Living In Your Light, their only crime perhaps is lacking a bit of an edge. It is all just a bit too polished at times and LaFave’s fine vocal could do with something a bit more gritty, like the Bruce Springsteen cover Land of Hope, which is delivered with the care and passion you would expect from a true Boss fan.
There is also a cover of John Waite’s Missing You, which works well as a country ballad, while the more uptempo Talk To Me and the bluesy Bring Back The Trains prove that LaFave can put his foot down if he needs to.