A Review of the Janet Bates CD
"A Time Has Come..."
copyright 2003, 2004
"A Time Has Come..."
by Janet Bates
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 10/04
This is the initial release of Janet Bates and two heapings of praise are immediately well-deserved:
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
1) She did it right, not on the cheap. Her liner notes thankfully contain
complete lyrics and the genesis for each song, items that are too often
missing from many first efforts.
2) She has an exceptional talent for dovetailing her song lyrics with engaging tunes and melodies.
But there is more to laud Bates for on this effort. A Canadian
singer-songwriter and sometimes resident of Oregon, she has produced an
earnest, socio-political release that provides commentary on local,
national and international events, while showcasing the best, worst and
moments-in-between that humanity has to offer.
The best offering is "A king song," a fairytale-like effort that chides the actions and arrogance of President Bush. She sings:
"...he spun stories to his people lest they find his true intent
the stories made them proud though they knew not what they meant..."
The following cut, "Neighbour," begins in a similar vein as if about
President Bush's move into the White House but develops into more of a
friendship/relationship gone awry over both perceived and real
"American Soldier," written in reaction to a photograph in the New York
Times of a weeping soldier, contains slight changes in the wording, and
therefore the meaning, at the end of each succeeding verse.The opening verse,
about a parade passing by, concludes with:
"...the crowd was blinded by the light
what they saw, they saw in black and white
American soldier going off to war..."
With the following verses, the soldier is actually in battle, loses
some of his comrades and ultimately find himself alone, with no flags
flying or trumpets sounding.
Bates also sings of Vietnam veterans, nuns imprisoned for acting on the
swords-to-ploughshares admonition of Jesus, environmental concerns and
More personally, she includes a very touching and oh so accurate view
of that most rewarding yet trying task of parenting a child. That song
"...The clock on the wall shows twenty after eight
you argue with everything I say
you are late for school and I am late as well
if you care I really couldn't tell..."
Ending a failing relationship in "It doesn't matter," she finishes:
"...I am walking away without turning around
the man I once loved has been lost and not found
I saw him today somewhere deep in your eyes
I must leave quickly before I start to cry..."
Besides the subject matter of the material, listeners will enjoy the
banjo and mandolin picking here, along with moments of violin,
percussion and the previously praised instrumentation in which she
encases her words. Bates' lyrics gently skewer, definitely display her
values and are best when she she employs metaphor and veers from the
literal. Her soprano vocals are clear and easy on the ears.
Janet Bates, on vocals and 12-string guitar, is assisted by Ken Bates
on banjo, guitar and vocals; Gary Montesano on guitar and vocals; Rick
Frank on harmonica and mandolin; Doug Jones on keyboards and piano; Tom
Beckstrom on drums and percussion; Bobbie Bowlin on violin; Dawn
McCauley-Smith on vocals; Jamie Morris on bass guitar; Steve Montana on
Here in your arms (2:47)
- Three Nuns (4:48)
- Your own worst enemy (3:28)
- For Whom (3:55)
- Refugee (4:40)
- Where time goes (3:33)
- A king song (5:04)
- Neighbour (3:37)
- Times like this (3:53)
- It doesn't matter (3:39)
- American Soldier (3:48)
- I loved you (4:03)
- Don't look away (4:30)
All songs by Janet Bates.
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