I suppose that I should state now that I am forever suspicious of any album that arrives with a whole folder of information and lyrics. Chris Walsh’s “Ballad of a Middle American” arrived with such a folder and, consequently, induced that familiar feeling of foreboding.
It is true, however, that Chris Walsh is committed to his art with all of these songs sounding wholesome as if he is more attracted to the word of the Lord than words of the heart but without actually going on to the gospel highway. That makes his album, if not quite a voyage of redemption, something of a search for forgiveness. Of course, that could be said of any sensitive singer songwriter anywhere in the world yet that very familiarity of approach could be said to be something of a liability.
His songs follow a single path and even when the sun of inspiration shines upon him – “Truth” and “Legs in a Twist” – you still get the feeling that he isn’t quite singing out from his own heart.
“Ballad of a Middle American” isn’t, therefore, really the kind of album that appeals to me. You may, of course, disagree.