Jeff Cannon – 13 Questions
Indiana-based singer/songwriter Jeff Cannon has released his latest full-length solo effort 13 Questions, a thematic album dealing with various social issues and wrapped in all of his Classic Rock sensibilities. Currently a college journalism lecturer, Cannon has also been both a street musician and band member of The Kids. Cannon defines his 13 questions (or issues, rather) as: Isolation, Otherness, Regret, Institution, Revolution, Indifference, Reception, Dialogue, Presence, Union, Identity, Courage, and Urgency.
Ten of these songs are original, the other three are covers, including the title track which is originally a song by Seatrain. He features his fourteen-year-old daughter Emma on one of the other two covers, “You belong to me,” which as far as I could tell was first performed by The Duprees, but also covered by a host of others, including Bob Dylan. And the last cover is a John Lennon song, “Grow Old With Me.” This is one of my favorites on the album. A real soft and sweet acoustic number, with a nice guitar solo.
One of the main things I like about this record is how if one wasn’t already familiar with the covers, there would be no way to tell they weren’t written by Cannon, as his own writing and musical style blend perfectly from where his inspiration streams from. I also love the sonic quality. It’s gritty and warm. It actually feels like Classic Rock, which in my opinion, is a good thing in today’s market.
Out of all the original tracks, “The Busker” is my favorite. It’s acoustic with just a hint of orchestral accompaniment, and has the most singer/songwriter vibe to it. “Courage To Be Kind” is a bluesy ballad that opens up with some much-appreciated harmonica that’s sprinkled here and there throughout the song. “Hypnotized and Occupied” says it all in the title. Right from the first verse we hear these lyrics, “now we’re down, we’re outside, we’re the last thing on their minds, that’s how they love you: hypnotized and occupied.” It’s apparent he’s speaking to our times today, but with the fervor of a 60’s hippie.
In the end, 13 Questions is a collection of socially-conscious-heavy songs aimed at challenging anyone who hears–or better yet listens. I don’t think Cannon is trying to be moralistic or “high and mighty” here. I think he genuinely has taken a long hard look at the things that plague our society and decided to do what he can. In regards to real and tangible social change, Cannon also sees something that many people these days don’t: hope. So be willing to swim in deep waters when playing this album, and I promise you’ll come out on the other side safe and sound, possibly enlightened, and most importantly, entertained.