Album, Single and EP Reviews



  Church Bell Blues by Catherine MacLellan

Church Bell Blues cover art

Artist: Catherine MacLellan
Title: Church Bell Blues
Catalogue Number: True North Records
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2008

It's ever the downfall of the singer-songwriter. You can write some heartbreaking lyrics, but when you put it down in the studio, it's just not there. Catherine MacLellan's "Church Bell Blues" struggles to hold the listener for long periods of the record.

Catherine MacLellan has a soothing voice that could guide the most restless of souls to peace. On River Valley Plains", MacLellan assumes the role of storyteller.  Being more direct and focused than her other songs, it stands out as one of her more accessible songs. "Here You Are" is Ms MacLellan's passionate tribute to her lover. Lyrically potent, Catherine's voice is very much the making of this song. Anyone who has ever been in love will get this song. Those others like me will merely appreciate it. Four minutes of lyrical malaise follow on "The Long Way Home". Even Ms MacLellan's vocals cannot save a song that fails to depart from clichéd lyrical pitfalls on the subject of love.

The title track is the offering of the blues that the album should have been built around. Instead, this track stands alone on an album that, more often than not, struggles to keep the attention. On "Brave Love", Catherine dares to raise the tempo and what results is one of the more listenable tracks on the album. Better yet, her lyrics sound as meaningful as she has managed throughout the album! 

With the shortest track on the album coming in at just over three-and-a-half minutes, patience is a virtue worth having when listening to this record. Unfortunately, more often than not, that patience is not rewarded.

It would seem to be the case that Catherine MacLellan has misused her skills and made an album that, while beautiful in parts, is largely unexciting and will probably mean more to Catherine herself on a personal basis but surely there is better to come from this woman.
Review Date: October 26 2008