FolkWords Reviews

‘Timeline’ - Donald MacNeill and Roberto Diana - powerful and encompassing intensity

(July 19, 2016)

Donald MacNeill proved with his 2011 album Fathers and Sons’ that he is a musician with a keenly observant eye and an impressive sense of rendering his observations into songs that readily take Timeline album coverhis listeners into his insightful world. Now in partnership with Sardinian composer Roberto Diana, comes another sharply focused and sensitive album, ‘Timeline’. And if there’s a point where this album relaxes its powerful and encompassing intensity, I’ve yet to find it.

The minutiae with which MacNeill sees everyday instances releases images that for many would pass by in a split-second to be forever forgotten. In contrast, his songs capture those moments and magnify them to their rightful level of importance. Multi-instrumentalist, Diana employs a mercurial touch on electric and acoustic guitar, lap steel and bass, piano and cello, to pour expression into MacNeill’s songs. ‘Timeline’ feeds on the persistence of memory, marking the passing of days with a strong remembrance that remains despite the changing days. It’s also an homage to a lived-in heritage moving through time ... sometimes familiar and friendly, sometimes strange and disturbing. It is this intimate crafting of songs that although intensely personal, offers each listener an openness that renders their poignancy readily understood.

A penetrating personal scrutiny and concentrated musicianship that produces the sharp understanding of My Mother Rode Her Motorbike’, a harrowing reflection on dealing with trauma, the confusion and recrimination sealed within ‘No Tears, No Chains’, and the unlooked for truth and personal pain of ‘Brightest Star’, featuring Jen MacNeill on vocal. From the recreated time-shift of ‘The Hall In ‘59’ and ‘The Journey’ with their finely-crafted historical perspective to the startling frankness and implicit understanding of those moments that remain forever with ‘Home Is Where The Dog Is’.

Together, MacNeill and Diana have crafted an album that’s dazzling in its simple beauty and dramatic in its revelations. Find artists and album here: donaldmacneill.altervista.org

Review: Tim Carroll

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