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CD REVIEW: Nolan McKelvey - A Matter Of Time
By Don Sechelski - 12/28/2009 - 11:46 AM EST

Artist: Nolan McKelvey
Album: A Matter Of Time
Genre: alt-country/rock
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Best Songs: All We Ever Needed, Sign Of The Times, Song of Hope, Grave Digging
CD Review:

So I got this CD in the mail from another singer/songwriter, there must be a million of them out there. Slipped the disc into the CD player and OH MY GOD, this guy is awesome. Immediately I went to Google to research Nolan McKelvey. The CD, A Matter Of Time, has been a constant fixture in my CD player since.

Turns out, Nolan McKelvey was a stalwart of the Boston alt-country scene for a number of years playing with bands such as the Resophonics and the Benders.  I didn’t even know Boston had an alt-country scene. He has opened for the likes of Bob Dylan, Sugarland, Derek Trucks, Peter Rowan, and Bela Fleck. He's since moved to Flagstaff, Arizona and put out several albums, the latest of which, A Matter Of Time, is a riveting piece of work.

McKelvey is joined on A Matter Of Time by Tim Hogan on bass and backing vocals, Jeff Lusby on a variety of instruments including electric and acoustic guitars. Ethan Rea adds drums and Mike Seitz plays a variety of keys. McKelvey, himself, wrote all the songs but one, sings lead vocal, and plays guitar. A Matter Of Time was produced by Jeff Lusby and it was a masterful job.

The first thing that grabbed my attention about A Matter Of Time was the lyrical depth. Insightful observations and fascinating turns of phrase abound. The first cut, All We Ever Needed, is a social commentary on the state of America’s relationship with the rest of the world. “Used to be the only thing to fear was fear itself, Somehow in 70 years we’ve learned to fear everybody else.” He goes on to say, “Even if all the institutions fall, we still got something to believe in.  Lookin’ back as far as I recall, each other was all we ever needed.” McKelvey’s vocal is plaintive and heartfelt, very reminiscent of Dylan at his best.

The second cut, Sign Of The Times, bemoans the homogenization of America.  “Another big box store so we can be like every other town. The same colors, the same shapes, the same names and the same sounds.”  Lusby’s lead guitar cuts like a knife and is the perfect complement to McKelvey’s cutting lyric.  This is music that will make you sit up and take notice. My favorite line of the CD is in Song Of Hope.  McKelvey sings, “When you are delivered, the bright lights shinin’ in your eyes, There’s a difference to consider between what’s shiny and what shines.” Wow, that’s a great line!

Nolan McKelvey is a major talent. His songs are honest, true, and incredibly insightful. A Matter Of Time is a tour de force. Lusby’s production, an excellent array of supporting musicians and McKelvey’s serious songwriting skills combine to create something that is more than the sum of it’s parts. You can’t go wrong picking up A Matter of Time. Now I’ve got to check out McKelvey’s other releases.

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