We have all seen how the House Of Cards, a.k.a. the global financial system has tumbled over the last year or so. Award winning Canadian singer-songwriter James Keelaghan has chosen this analogy as the rather apt title of his recently released album. It is the latest in a career spanning over a quarter of a century.
Keelaghan’s style of easy listening folk resulted in him being presented with a Juno Award, Canada’s Academy Of Recording Arts and Science principle award. His songs often explore the history of his homeland of which he is clearly proud and from which he draws much of his inspiration.
For this album, however, he is joined by fellow writers David Francey, Rose Cousins, Dave Gunning, Karine Polwart, and Lori Watson, who were literally locked in a house with Keelaghan to write the material for House Of Cards. Together they have served up a nicely balanced set of soothing folk songs.
The very title of this latest album highlights his ability to write songs that whilst plumbing traditional folk influences can also be inspired by contemporary themes. James Keelaghan is renowned for his passion to write poetic lyrics that narrate often tragic tales and real life accounts from both past and present as he explores his twin passion for history and language.
He explains this on his official website, when he says, “some things weren’t being said in the way I wanted to say them, some things were not being written about at all. That’s why I started to write the historical material. That led me to writing my own personal narratives as well”.
In the past this fascination with history has inspired many of his best known songs. For example, “Kiri’s Piano” re-visits one of Canada’s hitherto darkest chapters of Japanese internment camps during World War II. Other well known songs from him include “Fires Of Calais”, “Cold Missouri Waters”, and “Hillcrest Mine”.
House Of Cards is, in part, right up to date with his observation on how the world’s financial systems proved to be built in exactly that way. “Easy money no credit down, that’s the way we built this town” he sings as the “House Of Cards and a pack of lies” begins to unravel.