Moonlit River

Fred Moolten

Great Gull Records, 2003

REVIEW BY: Tammy Childs

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/22/2005

Fred Moolten began writing music and lyrics in 1998, mostly to amuse himself. But over time he realized that, while he was writing as an avenue to express his feelings and perspectives, other people were taking note of the results. The twist came when writer Moolten chose to allow others to perform his music.

His six song CD features Lisa Hindmarsh (vocals), Ernie Hawkins (acoustic guitar), and Rodan Weikert (multiple instruments and back-up vocals). Other performers include Max Leake, Brian Stahurski, Pete Freeman, George Heid, and Nelson Harrison. Harrison invented an instrument called the trombetto (hybrid of the trumpet and trombone), and uses it on "Last Dance."

Lisa Hindmarsh was a child of '70s pop music and released her own debut solo recording, Now I Know, in 2000. It was nominated for 2001 Jazz/Cabaret album of the year by Just Plain Folks (an association of industry professionals and independent artists). Ernie Hawkins plays all over the place; festivals, concerts, clubs, colleges, and workshops. He studied with Rev. Gary Davis, and has published two CDs. Rodan Weikert's background is a bit less flowery, but no less noteworthy. He is an accomplished guitarist and was included based on his feel for the blues.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Moonlit River is thick with blues, with a touch of folk. It begins with "Someday Blues," where Rodan Weikert knocks your socks off with the mouthharp, building on the aching feeling for which the blues are known. Ernie Hawkins lays out the rhythm with the guitar.

With "Someday I'll Think Of You Without The Blues" Woolten shares heartache and woe. The dobro is played by Pete Freeman. It is a sad, sad song but then, that's what the blues is all about. I like the melancholy nature of this tune.

"Candle Glow" is seductive and sexy. Max Leake performs on the piano, and the song has that old-time blues feel to it, taking you back to the days when you could sit and listen to a piano player croon and play, expressing the pain everyone feels at some point in their life. The lyrics are exceptional but don't override the bold music.

Nelson Harrison offers his expertise on the trombone on "Waiting for the Midnight Blues," another song of lost love, nights missed, and lonely moments that drag on. The trombone work alone makes this piece worth listening to.

While all the rest of the songs are sung by Lisa Hindmarsh, "Last Dance" features vocals by Rodan Weikert. I reluctantly admit that I don't care for his voice. It just isn't to my personal liking; it sounds a bit silly. Still, somehow the song works. The temperament reminds me of the old blues recordings -- not very smooth, but rich with character.

Fred Moolten definitely has a talent for writing. I enjoyed this CD. In fact, I think it's got some of the best independently recorded blues that I've heard in a while, and the artists that performed his music did exceptional work. All in all, it's worthy of your time and money.

Rating: B-

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© 2005 Tammy Childs and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Great Gull Records, and is used for informational purposes only.