Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jeff Touzeau - Two Worlds Away (A Miner's Narrative)

Singer/songwriter Jeff Touzeau has released a touching, compelling, and heartfelt concept album – Two Worlds Away (A Miner’s Narrative). The album was dedicated to the memory of James Berry, the inspiration for this album. Berry died as a result of injuries he suffered in the Millerton mine, in Millerton, New Zealand. Like any good concept album, Two Worlds Away tells a compelling story through music. While the tracks are meant to be listened to in order (to fully appreciate the storyline), they are grand enough to be presented in a single stand alone format as well.

Soft, acoustic folk is the best way to describe Two Worlds Away. Make no mistake, there is no hard rocking here, but that’s not to say that the album isn’t strong or be speckled with some great hard rock influences. Musically, Otaroma, the album’s third track sounds eerily like early Pink Floyd. Touzeau’s voice is very similar to the late Syd Barrett’s, and his undertones scream Floyd. The chorus peaks with an operatic sound that pulls the entire song together in eminent beauty.

At the center of Two Worlds Away is Jeff Touzeau himself. Handling vocals, drums, guitars, and lyrics, Touzeau put a lot of himself into this fine record. Accompanying him on keyboards and bass guitar is Ian Catt, a fine musician in his own right. The calm, collective ease that these two musicians showed in the studio is ear-apparent on the final product. Beautiful melodies combined with illustrious harmonies, decorate Two Worlds Away with style.

Two Worlds Away is an excellent record that will leave the listener not only enjoying the album, but thinking about the story behind the songs as well. Telling the story of a coal miner who leaves his homeland in search of something better and new, Two Worlds Away is compelling in its narrative songs. This is the tale of a journey with an unknown future.

Porridge Hill helps to create the landscape of a typical miner’s day. It’s not a pretty sight. With lyrics such as “I’m 37 but my back is 65,” Tourzeau has helped to craft what a day in the life of a miner is like. It’s hard, scary, back breaking work that can cause permanent damage to the lungs and the physical body. It’s no wonder that the narrator of this story wants to leave to find something better.

There is a lot that the listener can relate to in Two Worlds Away whether your collar is blue or white. The central theme of this album is hope. Most anyone can recall a time when they’ve wanted to hit the restart, or do-over, button on life. In Two Worlds Away, the narrator gets to do just that. He decides that it is time to leave this terrible situation of his job and seek out a better life for himself. In the end, Touzeau leaves the listener with much to ponder. Is it worth being a slave just to scrape together enough money to survive? Shouldn’t life be about “living”?

Two Worlds Away is a fun, conceptual, smart modern folk album that fans of Doug Keith or Dion Roy are sure to enjoy. With plenty of style, amazing vocals, and musical talent, Two Worlds Away is a great album that is worth the money and time. If you’re looking for a solid album packed with songs that will make you think as well as sing-along, you need look no further than Jeff Touzeau’s Two Worlds Away.

Ryo’s Rating: 8 (out of 10)

Track Listing
Two Worlds Away
Sitting on the Edge of the World
Porridge Hill
These Are the Best Days
Miner’s Nightmare
Face the Facts
There’s A Road that Leaves Forever
Fading Light
The Proletariat
The Letter
Lounging and Returning
Lafayette Avenue
Happy Valley

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