T. Hallenbeck must listen to Cat Stevens a lot. This album is one that Cat would have been proud to have made.
Hallenbeck's folk-rock is rich with music while a bit lean lyric wise. But this actually works as most folk
singers are too full of themselves and cram every song with 20-30 verses. I like the upbeat tempo and sense of
humor that is evident here. Hallenbeck has a real special knack of making everyday troubles seem not so hopeless
like on "The Landlord Song" and "Inbetween Times". This album is for anyone who loves clever
tunes and needs a bright ray of sunshine in their lives. Well recommended.
Jw has officially busted me for the biggest 'Duh!' of the last ten years of my life: my omission of one of the tracks
from the song list on the back of the album cover. After I did the layout and sent the graphics off to the printing house,
six months passed before I saw it. Note to self: never idiot-check one's own work. -TH
Ten track (but plays 11!) follow up to TH's last album, and it's a pretty snazzy one at that. Special mention, initially,
must go to the track "Live Not Lived." It's a clever and witty acoustic song that has some great playing, but
I really like the way that TH weaves the lyrics in and out of the tune, neither rely on each other, if you know what I
mean (basically, a 'proper' song!). Actually, the whole album's acoustic, but that track is a stand out! Anyways, tracks
like "Waking," "Falling Water," and "Inbetween Times" are all of that type of song that
would be difficult to play and sing at the same time for novice players! I must admit I do find songs like this fascinating,
where the melody bears little resemblance to the actually sung tune! His lyrical prowess is, at turns full of humour,
and then the knife is in! The track mix up is simply that "Tales of the Flying Dutchman" is not credited on
the rear of the CD case, but it's in the booklet, so, mystery solved. Doubting Thomas is a really fine, reflective
album featuring some excellent work.
T. Hallenbeck builds on his previous release Secret Society sporting his incredible talent for writing tunes
and lyrics that will have you literally begging for more. How do I know that? Because I am! For all of you struggling
musicians that get frustrated when writing music, understand that this guy has been hoarding all the talent and muses.
How else can you explain witty lyrics and masterful skills at singing, guitar, mandolin, cello, dulcimer, bass, mandola,
keyboards, tenor recorder, and viola (whew!)? The production quality is a tremendous step up from the aforementioned
previous work and in my mind I'm not sure if it's possible to assemble a better set of folk-based songs. So next time
do you think he could just give off some of his magic to the rest of us normal folks?
A most welcome follow up to the much loved (round our way) Secret Society CD from a couple of years back.
This takes our previously stated view that "Combining a striking spiritual lyricalism, an almost child like dream
quality, and a marvellous way round guitar, cello, mandolin and mandola" and adds in a Jethro Tull / Angelo Branduardi
twisted folk slant, that is constantly engrossing.
This is what music should be like. Asking questions, probing emotions, seeking truth. "Good music for bad times"
- nuff said.
Space City Rock has busted me for the "Renaissance Faire" thing again. As for the "quivery" vocals,
I'm trying to get that under control these days. It's largely the result of voice lessons in high school that I didn't
go far enough with... like a half-finished exorcism. -TH
You ever have one of those moments where you look at the person next to you,
speechless, and with a "...the hell?" look on your face? Well, that's
my exact reaction to hearing Doubting Thomas, by T. Hallenbeck. I'll
admit it -- I am a "Rennie," a Renaissance Festival devotee, complete
with costumes and everything, so I am no stranger to folk music. In fact, I'm
a huge fan of the now-defunct Clandestine from Houston, which, although Celtic,
played a similarly medieval type of folk music as showcased on Doubting Thomas.
Unfortunately, that's where the similarities end, for me. I just really couldn't
get into this CD. I haven't been able to completely put my finger on why, but
there's something about the quality of the voice or the enunciation of the lyrics
that really grates on my nerves. I actually enjoy the backing instrumentals and
hearing something unusual like a dulcimer being played, so I find myself focusing
more on those than any of the vocals. The only song on the CD where I actually
enjoy the song as a whole is the second track, "Life Not Lived." For
some reason, on that track the vocals come across as being smoother and have much
less of a quiver to them.
There are moments of this style sprinkled throughout the CD, but none strong
enough to overwhelm the feeling of forced emotion and drama. I just don't get
it. When you add in lyrics like, "Sometimes it's fun to drop on all fours
and run or / Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not maim," from a song entitled
"Dr. Moreau," the end result for me is a CD that I can't listen to no
matter how much I would've liked to enjoy it.