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Full Circle

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Album Review

Full Circle was Dan Fogelberg's first regular album release in ten years, not counting the 1995 duo album with Tim Weisberg, No Resemblance Whatsoever, and the 1999 seasonal collection First Christmas Morning. Issued on Fogelberg's own Morning Sky imprint through Jimmy Buffett's Mailboat Records, it was a typical collection for the veteran singer/songwriter, who wrote most of the songs, played most of the instruments, and engineered and produced the disc himself. It is lacking in the string sweetening that characterized many of his most popular recordings, but otherwise recalls them in its clutch of melodic, romantic pop/rock tunes. Mostly, Fogelberg is either celebrating love or lamenting the absence of a loved one. Occasionally, he touches on grittier or more esoteric concerns, however. "Reason to Run" expresses some regrets, notably with regard to substance abuse. "Seems I've always had these friends of mine/The smoke, the bottle, and the fine white line/To keep me company through the crush of time," he sings. And then there is "Icarus Ascending," in which he tries to reposition the Icarus legend, or at least stop short of its conclusion, in which Icarus flies too close to the sun and then, his wings melted, plunges to his death; the dark implication remains, however. Such are the hints Fogelberg provides about his life when he's not indulging in clichés to express his feelings of love ("When you're not near me/I make the sound of one hand clapping/When you're not near me/I leave no footprints in the sand"). Actually, the most revealing song may be the title tune, which he did not write. "Full Circle" is a Gene Clark composition first heard on the 1973 album Byrds, a one-off reunion of the original Byrds lineup. Then, it seemed to comment on that group, a big influence on Fogelberg. In his hands, it comes off as a renewed statement of purpose. But even with a decade to do so, the singer/songwriter still hadn't managed to come up with an entire album's worth of first-rate material, and it's telling that the best-written song was a cover.


Born: 13 August 1951 in Peoria, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

If James Taylor epitomized the definition and the original, late-'60s incarnation of the term singer/songwriter, Dan Fogelberg exemplified the late-'70s equivalent of that term at its most highly developed and successful, with a string of platinum-selling albums and singles into the early '80s and a long career afterward, interrupted only by a health crisis that led to his untimely death in 2007. He came out of a musical family, born Daniel Grayling Fogelberg on August 13, 1951, in Peoria, IL, where...
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