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Seven Songs for Jim

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Album Review

Dirge-like and funereal, Seven Songs for Jim is Greg Keelor's meditative ode to the loss of his father, Jim, who died in 2003 at the age of 80. From the haunting opening strains of "Silver Sun," it is clear that this is a work of pure catharsis — and be forewarned: it is a depressing listen. Over the scope of seven songs and 41 minutes, Keelor single-handedly reminisces about his father ("Deep Bay Road"), questions his mortality ("Are You Ready"), and mourns his loss (the closing "Ocean of Sorrow," which verges on sounding like Leonard Cohen). The entire album is Keelor, a guitar, and his multi-tracked vocals, lending the entire affair an intimate sorrowful feel. Most interesting is the original version of "Are You Ready" (which is played over plucked strings as opposed to the rocking version that would become the title track of the next Blue Rodeo album) — "No more whiskey/No more cigarettes/Your last breath just like a sunset" before dropping out everything except the vocals on the line, "Are you ready — ready to die?/Is there anything I can do/Cause say'n goodbye to you will be the hardest thing that I ever do." The result is a heartbreaking eulogy of a record — and one of the most powerful tributes to a father one can imagine. But prepare yourself for one heavy listening experience before sitting down with Seven Songs for Jim. It fulfills its purpose with masterful precision — and is every bit as affecting as you'd expect it would be. Not for those who depress easily.

Customer Reviews

A moving elegy

This is a very different sort of recording. You'll never hear anything from this on pop radio, because it runs far too deeply to be slipped in between commercials and bonehead djs. The story is that Keelor wrote and recorded these songs over the period that his father was dying. Apparently, he would leave the hospital at night and go home to work out his feelings by playing late into the night. The result is one of the darkest, most introspective, deeply personal and beautiful albums you'll ever hear. I put it on late at night and listen to it in the dark, and for all that it comes out of a place of grief, it leaves me feeling serene. My own father died when I was a boy, too suddenly, and when I was too young to express what I felt. In a way, this gorgeous, quiet, thoughtful album seems to speak for my heart.


Born: August 29, 1954 in Inverness County, Nova Scotia, Ca

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Singer-guitarist Greg Keelor is one-half of the dynamic songwriting partnership that has become somewhat of a Canadian Lennon/McCartney over the course of the '80s and '90s. Keelor's growl of a voice and '60s rock sensibility is the gravel road beneath the sunny clear tones and warm balladry of fellow Blue Rodeo frontman Jim Cuddy. Keelor met future songwriting partner Jim Cuddy in high school in Ontario -- though they didn't play music together until a few years after graduation. The two were in...
Full bio
Seven Songs for Jim, Greg Keelor
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  • $6.93
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: Mar 15, 2005

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