Rob Bruce's 'Tanglefoot'
“Soul of the jungle, heart of the sun
Run wild-cat, run”
Rob Bruce’s Tanglefoot
By Ian Browne Shamrock News
Running into Rob Bruce means talking about Arabian horses; his journeys through Latin America, and then promptly purchasing his CDs. I have three of them, but Tanglefoot is my favourite. Tanglefoot is dedicated to the sacred medicine of the four winds, Achuma, and to Hikuri, the Little Deer of The Huichol. A beautifully interwoven guitar-n-vocal set of bluesy-folk songs, Tanglefoot drifts into the Northern Rivers’ landscape while caressing you with the mysteries of Central and South America. I think that’s what I like most about this album, it keeps you guessing. Is Rob Bruce talking about ‘here’, or ‘there’? Now he is singing about our beloved Channon. Oh, wait a minute, no; it’s Shenandoah, the fields of Shenandoah.
Rob Bruce speaks of songlines; of totem storm-birds, does he mean this continent’ spiritual connections, or the Neo-tropic’s? He has a background in Anthropology and is intrigued by the healing and spiritual properties of plant medicines. He has learnt much from his time in Latin America. Songs such as ‘The Healing’ speak of such things, his spiritual connection to the four winds, the fauna and his kin. Of course horses too are a shoe-in with Rob. His passion for the majesty of the horse is evident within the song ‘The Gift’- which relates to how God grabbed the southerly wind; breathed upon it, and turned it into an Andalusian- as ‘white as snow’. Even Mr. Bojangles has his day on this album, but he too is a horse: 16 hands high- who can really fly. ‘A Dancer, A Horse, A Song’ is about a near-tragic horse ride through the valley. I can picture Rob high above a burgundy mount, racing the wind under the knowing of Nimbin Rocks. This album was recorded in Nimbin at the Bush Trax Studios by Dave Highet.
Songs such as Corazon de Mexico flow nicely with the charms of Cye Wood’s violin at its helm. As deeply rich in two continental tales and spiritual alertness this album musters, I have left one seriously important factor out thus far, and that is the absolutely divine acoustics of the very talented Michael Fairley. Tanglefoot inhabits a realm where the marriage between the sincerity in lyric, and clarity of guitar, rolls and tumbles like water journeying down through wee mountainside waterfalls. Like the sun on an autumn day, shining a smile upon a child’s face, Michael has some seriously peaceful melodies strumming from those fingers of his. I remember grabbing this CD from Rob while visiting Nimbin from the far north. He was very happy with Michael’s companionship on Tanglefoot, and to this day the sound has enchanted me also. Rob states within the ‘Thanks’ section of the CD-sleeve, that Michael’s- “fine, soulful guitar compositions have given my words wings and allowed them to fly.”
Are you a fan of the British indie-pop outfit ‘The Sunday’s’? At times the folkie tunes on Tanglefoot takes me to their album ‘Static and Silence’, while the uplifting relationship between violin and guitar on ‘Run Wild-Cat Run’ reminds me of one of my favourite nature docos. Whatever Tanglefoot does to your senses it certainly won’t be a negative experience. Take a trip within two lands; take a galloping journey on old Bojangles, within the dappled light and stunning guitar melodies of Tanglefoot. … “My soul runs with you girl, so run wild-cat, run.”