Archivists and collectors may recognize Jim McCarty as the
drummer for the Yardbirds, as well as for that band’s two major offshoots, Renaissance
and Illusion. More than 40 later, McCarty still tours in a group that touts the
Yardbirds banner – sans, of course, their legendary front line, which at
various intervals included Beck, Clapton and Page. Yet, while those activities likely provide
him a steady income, it’s his individual efforts that have occupied his time
for the past couple of decades.
Like those more recent entries, McCarty’s newest solo offering, Sitting on the Top of Time, leans
towards a mix of soft Eagles/Fleetwood Mac-like radio-ready fare and New
Age-sounding instrumentals. Somewhere in the middle, McCarthy reconciles his
intents with a cerebral style that may remind his longtime admirers of
Renaissance and Illusion’s dreamier designs.
Considering the album’s origins, those mellower intents
aren’t altogether unexpected. Inspired by an aborted collaboration with friend
and flautist Ron Korb, McCarty eventually regrouped in Toronto with Korb, ex Genesis guitarist Steve
Hackett and a varied group of Canadian session players. Nevertheless, pianist
Lou Pomanti takes the lead here, his willowy keyboards setting the tone for
such songs as “Living from the Inside Out,” “Hidden Nature” and “Temporary
Life.” Consequently, nothing sounds remotely similar to the blues-rock tempest
procured by the Yardbirds, and for the band’s ardent admirers, that may come as
a disappointment. Nevertheless, McCarty is obviously intent on moving on, and Sitting on the Top of Time shows he
retains a decidedly seasoned perspective.
Outsider” “Living from Inside Out” LEE ZIMMERMAN