Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Keeper's Companion by John Mock

The Keeper's Companion sounds like the title of a book, either a novel or a collection of poetry. Instead, it is the name of the second album by musician and composer John Mock, who plays guitar, mandolin, concertina, and tin whistle in various songs on the album. While all pieces are instrumental, they are not without literary connections. In the insert to the compact disc, Mock tells a story for each of the twelve compositions. Many of the titles evoke coastal life, including "The New Chatham Hornpipe," "For Those Lost at Sea," and "The Sailor at the Fair." At just a glance, I was charmed.

I discovered that The Keeper's Companion is great music for driving. It's Celtic-like melodies are mood-altering, a positive prescription for leaving a hard day at work. Mock has a small group of players accompanying him on most of the pieces. At times, I think of the Chieftains' Irish tunes and at other times John Williams' movie music. There is also a nostalgic sound that reminds me of Ken Burns' historical documentaries.

I received the CD from Artists of Note, which books concerts, a suggestion that Mock is available for hire. I looked on Mock's website to see if he has played in our area, and I only see an appearance at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Illinois. There were a few libraries in other states (mostly to the east), and most of his venues sound small (lighthouses, cafes, and museums), but he has also played with the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra. I am sure many communities would love to hear his beautiful music.

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