Picks and Pans Review: Ancient Songs

updated 09/19/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/19/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Joe Keenan

This solo outing is a stunning follow-up to Keenan's earlier group effort, Joe Keenan and the Band of Crows. Like that release, Ancient Songs is marked by Keenan's intelligent, taleladen songwriting, his confident, keening vocals and his deft acoustic guitar playing. Keenan's musical vocabulary tends toward the ballad, embracing such traditions as hymns and Irish chanteys. His tunes come out sounding like sung poetry, from the Celticlaced "Aye Me Boys" to the rambling folk number "Now Westlin' Winds." These are the kinds of haunting, beautifully wrought songs that can break your heart and then, as you keep listening, mend it. (Audiolutions, P.O. Box 2018, Vineyard Haven, Mass. 02568. 413-586-8979 Mail order only)

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