Steve Gilligan of The Stompers and Fox Pass has put together one of the most musical albums of the year, a lengthy 15 track disc that covers multiple genres. I call it New Wave Celtic Folk, pretty sounds from stringed instruments with the perfect performances we expect from this veteran Boston area musician and his friends. Two tracks feature a Stompers reunion (WMWM DJ Doug Mascott loves that!) while an instrumental, “Niki’s Blue Waltz,” sounds like an out-take from September Song or Lost in the Stars, two notable Kurt Weil tributes discs “Little Willow” could be a lost Jethro Tull track while “Waiting for Winter” is drawn from Neil Young’s Harvest “well.” And while the collection is most consistent the final chapter, “Wounds”, seems a bit out of place, almost going into a quasi-Velvet Underground third album moment in conflict with most of the other music presented here.. “What’s a Little Rock & Roll Between Friends” also throws you for a curve, a sort of rockabilly moment amidst the borderline classical sounds.
The title, Jacob’s Well, probably references the karstic spring located in Texas Hill Country north of Wimberley Texas (according to Wikipedia), not to be confused with Jacob’s ladder. Eleven of the fifteen tracks are under four minutes, most of them short bursts of joyous ideas that features playing which is simply exquisite. Conspicuous in their absence are the members of Fox Pass, though Mr. Gilligan may have wanted to stretch a little and present a different side of his personality. When added to the duo CD with Jon Macey, Everything Under the Sun, and work with folk trio City of Roses as well as Fox Pass, Jacob’s Well – along with FP frontman Jon Macey’s current release, Intention (15 more tracks – even lengthier than Jacob’s Well), one gets a clearer since of the vibrant and knowledgeable parts that make up the endearing New England groups Gilligan, Macey and their comrades are part of.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.