R. Finn’s new release Collecting Trip (Heritage Recording Co) features a host of heavy hitting Americana musicians backing R. Finn’s elegant, sincere songwriting and flawless musical consciousness. R. Finn worked with Levon Helm, living with him at his home in Woodstock, engineering the Midnight Ramble sessions for several years. He then returned to Los Angeles to found his own studio; the Heritage Recording Company, surrounded himself with all things musically impeccable, and turned to recording his debut album.
When the John & Ruby Lomax famously set out in 1939 to collect recordings of the wide range of existing southern Americana music, the resulting compilation established a historic foundation for American folk music, with their son Alan later continuing the tradition. A homage to these early recordings, Collecting Trip is a reconnection to the roots of songwriting, and R. Finn’s songs are beautiful examples of the simple, essential core that makes a song resonate within our very soul
A truly great drummer is immediately distinguishable and one listen to these songs reveals that truth. Jim Keltner backs R.Finn on drums on this project. Keltner has played with all of the Beatles except Paul McCartney; and with Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Lucinda Williams, Jerry Garcia and numerous other greats. The value of the precise and appropriately uncluttered drumming style cannot be underestimated.
It would be a challenge to find a song anywhere that is prettier than “Let Me Be the One.” “Desperation USA” is a mournful tribute to our current national state of affairs, although it was written more as a clairvoyant prediction. “Lonely Heart Blues” features Dixieland riverboat jazz piano by Benmont Tench. And then Ben Peeler’s pedal steel, with Sebastian Sternberg on stand up bass and a whole slew of string players carry the love song “A Bird and the Wild Blue Sky.”
Finn’s songs evoke Bob Dylan, not only in his vocal delivery, but in the overall cadence and storytelling style; although R. Finn’s stories are less obscure and truer to the core of American roots music. The attention to quality in this man’s mind is impossible to miss. Never overproduced, the clear production quality also will be a relief for Americana fans.
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