Jeff Finlin/Soul on the Line/Continental Song City
Four Out of Five Stars
Jeff Finlin is a tough, tenacious, and decidedly determined singer/songwriter, one who can claim an impressive body of work that’s gone underappreciated by the wider audience he so decidedly deserves. With his excellent new album, the descriptively titled Soul on the Line, he explores the maladies and malaise that sadly seem so pervasive these days. Combining a gritty demeanor with philosophical perception, these songs cut deep into the consciousness, exacting emotions and concerns that never fall prey to sadness or sentiment, Finlin is, after all, a forthright individual, and while he’s clearly concerned about today’s harrowing circumstances, his spirit never falters. On songs such as “Wondering What Went Wrong,” “Bardo Time,” “The Great Divide,” and the title track, he shakes off the dust of despair and pursues the promise of greater possibility. The dark and austere “Turn This Cadillac Around” maintains that mantra and even while evidencing his frustration, it doesn’t display his disappointment.
On the other hand, there’s a certain gravitas on display here, a feeling that the dark designs that seem so pervasive throughout likely won’t be dispelled any time soon. Nevertheless, when Finlin opts for a riveting rocker like “Misery Man,” it’s apparent he won’t be deterred or diminished. It’s enough to inspire hope in all of us, something sorely needed in these times of trouble and turmoil. On the other hand, the haunting “Round in the Circle” seems to suggest more precipitous circumstances, but while it gives cause for concern, it doesn’t betray any lack of confidence or continuity in terms of Finn’s forthright stance.
Ultimately, Soul on the Line is the kind of album that resonates in tone and tenacity throughout. Flush with rugged resolve, ought to provide some measure of reassurance that with perseverance can come to resolve, and it’s absolutely essential to advance towards that higher ground.