Hank Perritt tries his hand at music, but how does it match up against another law themed album?
Modofac: Wind Will Fill the Sails
Put it this way...it's not something you've heard before. You have to appreciate it for what it is. It's an incredibly gifted legal mind trying his hand at music for the very first time. Listening to it, I could relate more to the lyrics than to the actual music. But don't get me wrong, there is no doubt that Professor Perritt has put together a very gifted band of musicians.
So we'll start with the good. There's a lot of story-telling going on and it mostly comes from Professor Perritt, who himself has walked many a path. The man is an engineer, lawyer, past advisor to several US presidents, author, former dean of our law school, and former candidate for-Congress.
One can imagine that a man who's accomplished so much would need some sort of avenue to express his experiences and try to convey his wisdom to the masses. What better way to do this than through music.
With that in mind, Hank Perritt creates a very personal al- bum that at times is light-hearted, but at other times takes on a very serious tone. There are songs like "It's Time for a Skunk," which contemplates the legality of owning a skunk as a house-pet. Obviously humorous. But then there are songs like "He Held the Parchment High," which is about a brother of a Chicago-Kent law student accepting a diploma for his deceased brother, who committed suicide two days before the graduation ceremony. Definitely some heavy subject matter.
But there are also some songs that any law student can relate to. For instance, "Back of the Room" is about a student who sits in the back of the classroom and seems to be struggling in class and a Professor's attempt to try and reach out to the student. And then there's "I'm Done," a song about law students finally finishing law school. These types of songs show Professor Perritt's ability to easily empathize with his students, which all of us can appreciate. Other songs include "Kosovo Disco," about Professor Perritt's recent trip to Kosovo in an effort to help rebuild the war-tom region, and the title track "Wind Has Filled the Sails," which displays Professor Perritt's love for sailing. These are obviously topics that hold deep importance to Perritt, and you have to applaud him for compiling songs that are pretty personal with songs that tie back to the legal field.
The album obviously has its flaws. The music and the melodies don't seem to match on most of the tracks. In fact, some of the melodies just come off as strange to me. You have to hand it to them though, they definitely do not limit themselves to one type of sound. There are instances of jazz, rock, pop, and techno on the album. While it's clear that Professor Perritt is no Pavarotti, what can you expect from someone who takes up singing and song-writing at age sixty? I would say it's a solid debut effort, and if you don't want to listen to it for the music, then you should listen to it for the lyrics, as they come from a man who probably has more life experience than you or I will ever have combined. [rating:] 6.5/10.
David Pustilnik, Entertainment Critic
Reviews The [Chicago-Kent College of Law] COMMENTATOR, December 2007, at p.12