The title of Bill Mulroney’s album Second Wind refers to his second attempt at the music biz, after taking a hiatus of over 22 years, and the resulting effort is one of the most pleasant new releases to come out so far this year. With a vocal style reminiscent of a young James Taylor at times, and Danny O’Keefe at others, the album is a very personal one for Mulroney, and starts off with a tribute to Phil Morris a/k/a Phil Dirt, a friend and longtime fixture on the local music scene Mulroney was a part of.
Mulroney writes great love songs with titles like “Lovers Never Rest on Sunday,” which extols the pleasures of spending the day in bed with someone you care for, and “An Angel’s Come To Town,” a nice ode to meeting, falling in love and ending up with that special someone, sounds like Mulroney’s writing from the heart and experience.
A couple of tunes on the more serious side deal with war. “Freedom’s Call (the Soldier & the Miller)” tells the story of a young solider and his dilemma as to whether he should fight or not, and “Battleship Wisconsin,” a song about the glory days of that old war boat.
A song torn from the recent headlines, “Angela Dawson,” recounts the story of a Baltimore family who took a stand against drug dealers in their community, only to be killed by the dealers, who torched their house while they were still in it. Not as downtrodden as it sounds, the message appears in the last line, “Know what’s good, and do what’s right” and it reminded me a little of Neil Young, both vocally and musically. It’s a rocker with a touch of grunge.
The production by Andy May is perfect for the material presented, very clean and uncluttered. The emphasis seems to be on the lyrical content, so the vocals are clear and right up front, with the backing musicians’ individual instruments very well defined and spread across the entire soundstage.
One can only hope it won’t be another 22 years before Mulroney gives us another offering, but if it is, Bill Mulroney’s Second Wind certainly holds up to repeated listening, and good things come to those who wait.Michael Macey, Chesapeake Music Guide