Album Review :
Orion Walsh - Freedom Lost Or Freedom Found

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Band: Orion Walsh
Title: Freedom Lost Or Freedom Found
Label: N/A
Release Date: August 2009
Review By: Scott L

Tracklisting:

01. Freedom Lost Or Freedom Found
02. Starkweather
03. Football Town
04. Run For The Hills
05. Journey To The Sea

I personally have a hard time picturing someone at a concert cupping their hands around their mouth and shouting, “Harmonica solo!!” I suppose it could happen. I’m just saying that I personally have a hard time picturing it because that’s really not my thing. But if it was ever going to happen, I’d say that the chances of it happening at a Darrell Mansfield concert would be pretty good. There’s just something sorta creepy about a guy that wears harmonicas on his belt like six-guns. A whole bunch of six-guns. Now if you read that and were thinking to yourself, “Now wait a gal-dang minute, mister! I like them thar harmonicas!” Then do I have an EP for you.

It’s by a guy named Orion Walsh. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Maybe you haven’t. Maybe you thought you’d heard of him, but it turned out to be a guy named O’Ryan Welch… who may or may not exist. Anyway, what you need to know about Orion Walsh, besides the fact that he does exist, is that he plays an eclectic brand of alt-Americana. Hailing from Lincoln, Nebraska, Orion (yes, that’s his real name) has crafted a sound that for the most part seems to defy description. Maybe Bonepony meets Neil Young meets a three-toothed hillbilly from the back woods of the deep south who happens to play the harmonica. Maybe even two harmonicas. It’s Americana, it’s Blue Grass, it’s… did I mention that there’s harmonica? Because there is. Suffice to say, if you liked Orion’s original CD, “Tornado Lullabies”, you’ll no doubt love “Freedom Lost or Freedom Found”. It’s more of the same twangy, jangly goodness you’re looking for. Pop this CD in at the neighborhood BBQ and heads’ll be turnin’ faster’n you can stain that brand new white wife-beater you’re wearin’.

Obviously, some of this review is just for the sake of a laugh rather than a true reflection of the music. And I certainly realize the difference between Country and Americana, although I’m blurring the boundary a bit for this review. I’d have to say that this is a niche market style that I typically don’t get into… so it wasn’t easy to digest at times. But I can at least appreciate what he’s trying to do. And I think that for the most part, he hit what he was aiming at.

Lyrically, the message here seems to be pretty standard for Americana… small towns, finding yourself, making lunch for someone referred to as “Daddy”, and hitting someone with a baseball bat. You know, Americana kinda stuff. You should probably be aware that he does drop the “d-word” once in the song “Football Town”.

Standout track? Uh, next question, please.

Overall: Orion Walsh, aside from having one of the coolest names a kid could ask for, has picked up right where he left off with “Tornado Lullabies”. Not really my thing, at all… but if you were waiting for more of the same, you’re wait’s almost over.

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