Rod MacDonald

Into the Blue

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On his fifth album, And Then He Woke Up (1997), Rod MacDonald, formerly an urban folk singer with a repertoire of songs about the pursuit and loss of love, pondered a move to Florida and the arrival of true love. Thirty-one months later, he released his sixth album, Into the Blue, during his fiftieth year, and if he had accustomed himself somewhat to Southern domesticity, he still seemed a little surprised at his good fortune. After opening the disc with "Seven Days," a folk-blues tune about being on the road and missing his wife, he contemplated his still-recent contentment in "I Have No Problem with This," which contrasted life in "some little apartment on some city street" with coming home to "your townhouse and your swimming pool." "Wait a minute-when did I get a wife?, " he asked, and "Wait a minute-when did we get a house?" But this was not the outsider of his earlier work talking, it was someone who was enjoying his wife and his house, and was only bothered that he occasionally had to leave them to earn a living. In "Days of Rain," the sardonic "It's a Tough Life," "Aucilla River Song," "Deep Down in the Everglades," and "Lightning Over the Sea," he specifically wrote about life in Florida, from its climate to its history and its ecological challenges. The songwriter's political conscience still asserted itself here and there, such as in his analysis of campaign finance scandals -- "The party with the money launched an investigation/Into where the other party gets its money from" -- but his overall philosophy was more fully explored in "Six Strings & a Hole Big & Round," a tribute to the sound of a single acoustic guitar as opposed to a pop concert with its laser lights and "eight semis with generators, " and "Into the Blue," which contrasted the joy of flying a small plane with the impersonality of large airlines. Thus, it wasn't quite the case that this descendant of Bob Dylan had mutated into a new Jimmy Buffett, even if he was now at least as much of a booster of Florida.

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