Album ‘A New State Of Mind’ by Keith Hall and Heathen Soul
Review by Alan Edwards (Musical Australiana) 104.7 Gippsland FM
This is simply one of the very best blues and jazz albums that I have listened to for several years.There is ample variation in style and content across the 12 tracks, that eliminates any sense of sameness between them, but at the same time this album familiarises you with the ‘sound’ of Keith Hall and Heathen Soul, such that you would immediately recognise them the next time you hear them play.
To me, the standout track is “Landslide” because it is such a unique and attention-grabbing piece. The lyrics immediately focus your mind on an experience so frightful, and so alien to the imaginations of nearly everyone. How to deal with it is the question, and it arrives without warning. But this song also begs the question, does the landslide have to be one of rocks and rubble?
The title track is a lovely classical blues style piece, about having a new approach to life and moving on after one of life’s setbacks. “Time For A Change” comes across as a bookend companion to “A New State Of Mind”; whilst “October Rain” contains a subtle warning to be careful what you wish for, because you may get more than you expect. “It Is What It Is” is a cute little upbeat jazz number that highlights the value of having the sangfroid to be able to just take life as it comes.
The other tracks are a wonderfully varied mix that deal mostly with handling the ups and downs of ones life, and valuing the significant others in it.
This album is outstanding in that every track is of such uniformly high quality. In the days of 45 r.p.m. vinyl, every track would be an ‘A’ side.