Bill Foreman
"Seventeen Miles Past Indio"

(General Ludd Music 2002)Bill Foreman - Seventeen Miles Past Indio

From the first fierce chords of Bill Foreman's album, "Seventeen Miles Past Indio," comparisons to Bob Dylan and Neil Young are completely unavoidable. But comparisons can only carry an artist so far after getting your initial attention. In this case, it is Foreman's ability that makes the album interesting. With a fresh and casual feel, Foreman tells a story with his twelve tracks, including two tight instrumentals, and leaves you wanting more.

It is the strong but loose instrumentation and Foreman's rough around the edges voice that make the quick paced opening song "Can't Wait To Be Free" good old rock 'n' roll. Catching his breath, "I've Maintained My Advantage" is bumpy and jangly while "St. Louis" is soft, smooth and understated, simple percussion. Foreman is not all talk; "The Professah," for example, is a swinging retro instrumental. "The Snowbank's a feather bed," meanwhile, is likable with its rolling and melodic style while "Queens" sees Foreman singing "I'm the man who just left the asylum. I've got $24 and a Yankee cap. I've got splinters underneath my fingernails and the City is stretched out before me." "As The Night Goes By" is catchy and rhythmic with both accordion and mandolin complimenting the music, similar to "The Sun is a Mighty Lamp," an instrumental that mixes styles and sounds for a smart result. "My companions kept moving their fingers and their voices intertwined. I turned my face to face myself forward and the world stood still. The car slowed to a stop on the shoulder and I was physically ill," Foreman sings on "The Canadian Vacation." Soft and slow, "San Diego" is thoughtful: "If last month I could see where at this minute I might be, what would have occured to me?" With a strong closer, "The Blue Desert Hills" is a casual but still driving rock song.

Thoughtful and well written, "Seventeen Miles Past Indio" is undeniably smart rock that does not have to show off. Avoiding over production and keeping it, relatively, simple, "Seventeen Miles Past Indio" is exactly what it should be and does exactly what it needs to. With his loose and familiar style, Foreman gets your ear.

A-

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