Among the show biz maxims that seem to have found their way into the recording industry is the notion of closing out on a positive, upbeat note. If you can+t leave sem laughing, at least leave sem feeling good about life, love and all that. It+s a subtle, yet significant mark of the confidence they place in their writing and performing abilities that Chris Moore and John McGann, the driving forces behind Rust Farm, chose to place the title track of their second release at the end of the disc. It+s a dark, spare song of despair and tragedy that borders on cynicism in asking, "If hope is your master and you its slave/Why bother walking all this way to your grave?" No moon-June-spoon here, but it+s a fascinating song, and it+s not the only one.
Moore is the wordsmith and lead vocalist, and he+s capable of upbeat optimism as well. "Little Stretch Of Road" reflects the thrill of wanderlust that promises something new just around the next bend, and "Mismatch Made In Heaven" is a wry look at throwing common sense to the winds. All of this is delivered in an acoustic style combining contemporary folk, bluegrass and country that highlights the instrumental skills of Moore on mandolin and McGann on guitar as well. Produced by Tim O+Brien, this is an easygoing, if not always light-hearted pleasure. (Rust Farm, Box 24, Peaks Island, ME 04108)