One Timeless Moment

James Gordon

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One Timeless Moment Review

by Matt Fink

With over 20 years and 30 albums to his credit, one would have thought that singer/songwriter James Gordon was fairly satisfied with the trajectory of his career. Always an incredibly talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, here Gordon challenges the somewhat middle-of-the-road qualities typical of his songwriting with a slightly more edgy and roughly hewn mix. And while it's certainly not a dramatic departure from the dynamic explored on his previous recordings, Gordon's addition of a variety of more modern guitar tones and organs to his mainstay banjo and mandola lends the album a distinctly contemporary feel. As Gordon can at times come off as an adult contemporary John Denver, with his voice lacking distinction despite being quite strong, his new direction leads to some awkward pairings. The more rustic, almost country-rock bent of certain tracks is a pleasant change of pace, but given Gordon's occasionally over-sincere rendering of his poignant lyrics, it can be somewhat off-putting. With Sandy Horne joining on bass and backup vocals, Gordon continues to present topics such as the disintegration of small-town communities ("Another Big Box Store") and loving tributes to his Canadian homeland ("Michipoten") as a warm and inviting narrator. Similarly, his ability to craft gorgeously arranged piano ballads is fully on display, with the inspirational "Sing With Me" and "How Many Mistakes?" proving that he hasn't completely abandoned the faithful formulas of the past. Whether or not longtime fans of Gordon's work will appreciate the slight change in direction may ultimately be unknown, but One Timeless Moment should provide both a reason for those who had dismissed Gordon to give him another listen and allow those who are already in his camp a chance to see him in a different light.

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