Mickey Newbury ‎– His Eye Is On The Sparrow

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streetmouse

streetmouse

July 27, 2016
referencing His Eye Is On The Sparrow, LP, Album, HA-44011

Mickey Newbury was influenced by many artists, and he discovered many artists in his career, a career he cut short to raise his family and play golf, an activity that seemed to interest him far more than the guitar.

His Eye Is On the Sparrow did not manage to chart, barley making a ripple, though it is considered to be one of his most pretty, and certainly most intimate, filled with subtle nuances, flowing textures, tender beauty, and laced with fragile loneliness, but not in a manner that bespeaks of road or wold weariness.

What makes this album difficult for me, and it is certainly an aspect of country music from the time, is it’s consistent Christian messages and influences. Some of the songs are religiously subversive, in that they don’t deliver the message until the very end, case in point “Gone To Alabama,” which is rather upbeat, and filled with tambourine jangling before it morphs into a Christian theme. Again, the song “Saint Cecilia” is rooted in the church, while “Westphalia Texas Waltz” contains the line, “He stood as the sun [son] in the morning rose up on Wichita Falls,” and is an obvious reference to John 8:12. Then there’s the song “Wish I Was,” where Newbury lays out his humility in the face of his god and creator, expressing that “A grain of sand is all I ever wanted to be.”

With all of that being said, it’s difficult to listen or consider this album to be anything more than Christian philosophy, where the listener is visited with these persuasions over and over again, though at this point in time it’s rather difficult to determine whether Newbury was merely declaring his alliance with his god, or if he saw his songs as a means of conversion. Now, least I dissuade you from listening, there are several songs that bear no Christian fruit. Certainly Mickey Newbury should be a household name, but alas he’s not, meaning that he’s often discovered by accident, forever roaming in the country music underground and discount record store racks, which is a shame, because the man certainly has talent.

Review by Jenell Kesler