Online since August 2002

A polished country pro

Reviewed October 2008

Father Time
Father Time
By Hal Ketchum

Curb Records: 2008

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

Country tunesmith Hal Ketchum may tend to get lost in the shuffle of singer-songwriters who had their heyday in the early 1990s, but he is still out there, touring and releasing albums of well-crafted material. The latest is "Father Time." Backed by a crack cadre of Nashville studio cats, Ketchum is in his element and does not disappoint.

"Invisible" is a strong start and sounds like a radio-play candidate. Of the generous 14 cuts, the ballads dominate overall, with minor chords shimmering beneath soaring background vocals, with fiddle and steel guitar passages. The best of these include "On the Day He Calls Your Name" and "Down Along the Guadalupe." The funny, funky "Continental Farewell" is a snappy break in the action, and a cover of Tom Waits' “Jersey Girl” gets the Nashville treatment.

Ketchum's vocals are never a distraction, and his tenor fits the gently rocking tone of these tunes perfectly. Unlike many of the other early-'90s "Hat Acts," Ketchum seems to be getting better with age and there are no red state political statements or ripoffs of rock tunes. Sometimes it is good to let "Father Time" move forward – if you know what you can do well and do it, as Ketchum does here.

Review by Frank Kocher, a longtime San Diego resident, musician, music collector and frequent contributor to The San Diego Troubadour.

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