Chaim Tannenbaum

Chaim Tannenbaum

Story Sound Records, 2016

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Now, I've heard of people getting a late start in the music business, but Canadian's Chaim Tannenbaum takes it to an entirely different level. At 68 years old, Tannenbaum released his debut of covers mixed with originals in 2016. This isn't to say, however, that Tannenbaum was a neophyte to music; on the contrary, he's played with Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Loudon Wainwright III, Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson, and Penny Seeger, among others, all while balancing teaching philosophy at the college level and studying mathematics.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Farther Along” begins the album with soft acoustic guitars behind Tannenbaum's clear pipes. A sparse affair, it's a quaint folk tune that moves into the louder, gospel like “Ain't No More Cane On The Brazos,” where tambourines, violins, and slide guitar make it a joyous affair. “Coal Man Blues” is Tannenbaum's version of a song made famous by John Knowles, where whistling and violin from David Mansfield make it one of the best selections here, though the moody harmonium on “Moonshiner” is a close second.

While upbeat isn't exactly a description that meets most of these tracks, it certainly fits on the quick and rowdy “Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit,” where accordions, tubas, and trumpets give it a circus frenzy feel. Other tunes, like the banjos of “Mama's Angel Child” and “(Talk To Me Of) Mendocino,” give the album an Americana feel and add some variety to the collection, though the more somber moments, like “London, Longing For Home,” are really where Tannenbaum shines. One of the few originals here, the autobiographical “Brooklyn 1955,” is a perfect example of his strength; with just his guitar and subtle beauty, he keeps the listener engaged in a way Pete Seeger or Billy Bragg would.

Chaim Tannenbaum has appeared on over 20 albums, but here he's the main attraction and it's a display of proficiency that he should be very proud of. If the message 'This Machine Kills Fascists' means anything to you, so will this album.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2017 Tom Haugen 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 Story Sound Records, and is used for informational purposes only.