You may not have heard the name before but Bob Cheevers isn't exactly an unknown, having won eight Emmys for his music videos. The man's voice has a strong Willie Nelson twang to it but his work is much folkier, with Celtic backgrounds, a style he's dubbed "Delta-Celtic", an ancient air that's traveled the Mississippi mud while retaining its shamrock. Fiona's World is based on a woman who sketched his face in a Southampton bar (UK) and became friends with the troubadour through her artwork, also appearing in a singing cameo in Pictures of Strangers (good voice!).
Thus, we have an emotionally interconnected storyline punctuated by three instrumental interludes as abstract chaptering devices. Cheevers plays acoustic guitar, a little percussion, and sings but has a partner who wields a very interesting electric axe, understated and aeolian but haunting, as are the violin and...well, either I'm hearing things or there's also a cello (bowed bass perhaps?), uncredited, beside non-pianistic keyboards, equally unmentioned. All, however, achieve a moody synthesis that's deeply affecting. The side players, in fact, share an intimate kindredness for the lamentive atmospheres that pervade Fiona's World. Even the happy songs—New Forest Rain for instance—have an achy backscatter to them, trotting out country elements strongly.
Don't disinclude the folk element here, which is extremely strong, as the opening What I've Done for Love illustrates, and sets Cheevers squarely in with the greats, as catchy and evocative as what Lightfoot, Chapin, Neill, or any of a bevy of writers have given us. With a release as appealing as this one, we can only imagine what the next will be like.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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