Simon Joyner & the Fallen Men

To Almost No One

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On To Almost No One: Singer Songwriter Series, Volumes 1-5, Simon Joyner and his band The Fallen Men paid tribute to ten singer/songwriters, including Paul Siebel, Anne Briggs, and Jerry Jeff Walker. The collection of five vinyl singles begins with "To Live is to Fly" by Townes Van Zandt, and features Joyner's signature minimalist acoustic fingerpicking, and Lonnie Methe's soulful violin. Like the best cover songs, Joyner clearly adopted each song as his own, inserting his own musical energy to each composition. The next track, a cover of David Blue's "Midnight Through Morning" includes the line "The radio played on to almost no one," which inspired the album's title. Gene Clark's "For a Spanish Guitar" was culled from Clark's White Light album, from his early singer/songwriter days. Joyner's version includes delicate guitar and Methe's violin, along with Brad Smith on organ. The cover of Jackson C. Frank's "The Visit" is a reflective narrative, with Joyner rising above his normal calm delivery. The version of Kris Kristofferson's "Casey's Last Ride" is the band's most collaborative track, with most of The Fallen Men making an appearance, including bassist Mike Tulis and Smith on drums. The band's version of Jim McCarthy's "In Search of an Audience" is a perfect example of Joyner's growth as a performer with the addition of The Fallen Men. The song features a liveliness to his voice not heard since his earliest recordings. The keyboard introduction to "No More Songs" leads off the final track of the collection -- a stunning and powerful collection of cover songs. The collection gives notice to some of the least-appreciated musicians of the '60s and 70s. Half of the songwriters have passed away, and some of the others have given up musical aspirations, most notably Kristofferson. Joyner wrote extensive liner notes for the collection, explaining his reasons for covering each song. "Singer-songwriter music is a passport to obscurity by definition," he writes, perfectly illustrating his view on the man-and-his-guitar phenomenon. Steve Micek appears on horns on the collection, and Scotland's Wee Black Skelf Records released To Almost No One in 2002.