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Rock Me On the Water

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Album Review

Rock Me on the Water finds Orleans founder (and accomplished sailor) John Hall riding the waves of inspiration brought on during a two-year sea voyage spent aboard his 39-foot cutter, Athena. As expected, the album is loaded with songs that contemplate the romance of the sea, the freedom of the open ocean, troubles along the way, and the eventual longing for home. In fact, that is exactly how it's sequenced — as a document of his oceanic journey from beginning to end. Between the restless longing of the Jackson Browne-penned opener, "Rock Me on the Water," and Jules Shear's plaintive, homeward-heading "Every Place," Hall reflects on life, love, family, and time through a captain's telescope, putting some distance between his landlocked self and his seafaring alter ego, ultimately gaining some serious insight through the separation. Musically, there are a number of influences here, from reggae-tinged tracks (like "Cuttyhunk" and the aforementioned "Every Place"), Brazilian-flavored ballads ("I Think of You"), and soft rockers ("Channel Pilot," "Another Sunset"), to country-rockers ("Gulf Stream Night," "Seven Mile Bridge), with each style successfully evoking suitable atmospherics for the lyrical content. The production is casual-slick, befitting the album's laid-back nature, and the musical performances all match that same vibe (most notably, Hall's own intricate, slow-handed guitar playing and unadorned vocals), making for an album that delivers on its promise of easygoing contemplation and easy listening insight. ~ J. Scott McClintock, Rovi


Born: 23 July 1948 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Pop

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

John Hall was best known, for most of the first four decades of his public life, as a singer and guitarist, principally with the group Orleans -- although that group, an outgrowth of the more prosaically-named John Hall Trio and John Hall Quartet, came along some four years after he'd made his recording debut, and had shared stages with the likes of the Doors and the Who. Born on July 23, 1948, in Baltimore, MD, Hall was studying physics at Notre Dame University before he quit to pursue music full-time....
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Rock Me On the Water, John Hall
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