Jim Keaveny: Put It Together
Independent – 2017
Apparently North Dakota native Jim Keaveny funded Put It Together by cycling some 2300 miles from San Diego, California to Savannah, Georgia, a determination to make music that’s playfully underscored by the opening track, What I Ain’t Got on which he lists everything he has that he needs to make an album and make people think “we got something.”
He does indeed have something, a troubadour’s heart and soul for a start, a strong Dylan influence for another and a collection of songs that make for a comfortable and easy summer on the highway listening. Is It You comes as a lively surprise with its Mariachi horns (a subsequent track is titled Limbo and Grim / The Mariachi Mantra and balances moody, acoustic and lap steel balladry with a rumbustious second half), while The Grand Forks weaves slide and trumpet into its heady groove.
He does a sprightly scratchy blues shuffle on Check You Out that’s shares a musical spirit with Dylan’s Tombstone Blues, contrasting that with the more soulful side of the choral-backed Good Times and Put It Together with its evocation of border-country Dylan circa Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.
Musically tied to the dry and dusty landscape of his adoptive Texas home, there’s an equally parched quality to Keaveny’s style as complemented by the likes of David Barclay Gomez on accordion and Noah Martinez’s upright bass, he spins his stories of characters in search of love, hope or a dream to hang on to, at his aching best on the harmonica-haunted Americana of Blown Away and the heartfelt semi-spoken Please Don’t Underestimate My Love.
Playing out in a rowdy, trumpet blaring Texicana style with Six Days In A Jailhouse, this is probably best served with a long cold beer and again reinforces his position as one of the most authentic dust bowl Americana artists currently riding the trail.