When you listen to Walt Cronin, don’t expect fancy language or complicated musical structure. Listen to the words, though, because simple words can carry a great impact. On his recent solo release, The Gousters, Walt sings of love, war and everyday things, and brings you into the experience. These are songs from the heart — the essence of true folk music. Of a war widow: “It’s the hurt that’s in us all, as we watch those young men fall….” (Flowers in Her Hand). Of a veteran’s life: “…I was a soldier, led to the places that left me bereaved….Came home a stranger….” (The Rift). Of a homeless girl: “How can this be, in the land of the free….no one is listening…” (She’s On Her Own).
The Gousters derives its name from a term Walt and former co-musician Zander Schloss used to describe themselves, based on urban Chicago street slang. The CD is similar in style to one issued by Walt and Zander under the same name in 2005, but the two are not to be confused. As far as musical style, the instrumental accompaniment reminds me of a time when folk, rock and country were more closely related and were played interchangeably on pop radio. A little reminiscent of The Outlaws. There is even a touch of Celtic sound in “Ageless Dreams.” The album finishes up with a very sweet tribute to a loved one (You Are the Light).