singer-songwriter http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/taxonomy/term/139 en Why So Blue? http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/4030 <span>Why So Blue?</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/ian-alterman" lang="" about="/index.php/users/ian-alterman" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ian Alterman</a></span> <span>July 18, 2021 - 08:34</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/139" hreflang="en">singer-songwriter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2021/2021-07/joni-mitchell-blue-cover.jpg?itok=y-41Wv10" width="1200" height="1140" alt="Thumbnail" title="joni-mitchell-blue-cover.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>One of the things that has been getting me through the pandemic is my CD collection. I have been listening to at least one CD per day since May of 2020 (and I have well over 1,000 CDs) in alphabetical order by artist, and chronological order within each artist's oeuvre.</p> <p>Yet it is a truly amazing coincidence that I just happened to start on Joni Mitchell's catalogue this past week, just as there is much ballyhoo and brouhaha being made of the 50<sup>th</sup> anniversary of <i>Blue</i>, her fourth album, released in June of 1971. Indeed, it seems like every music reviewer, and many writers who are not specifically music writers, have felt compelled to celebrate the album's anniversary with breathless paeans and sparkling verbosity (and occasionally rank hyperbole).</p> <p>Personally, I don't see what all the fuss is about. Yes, <i>Blue</i> is a fabulous album. But it is not her best album (an appellation which is, of course, hopelessly subjective, but to this reviewer, <i>Hissing of Summer Lawns</i> holds that place), nor is it even her best "early" period album; in that regard, <i>Blue</i> is tied with, if not slightly inferior to, <i>For the Roses</i>. (Even <i>Clouds</i> may be its equal.) It wasn't even the album that brought her quasi-mainstream success -- that would be either her sophomore album, <i>Clouds</i> (with "Chelsea Morning" and "Both Sides Now") or her third album, <i>Ladies of the Canyon</i> (with "Big Yellow Taxi," "The Circle Game" and "Woodstock") -- much less true mainstream success: that would be <i>Court &amp; Spark</i> (with "Help Me," "Free Man in Paris," and her wonderful version of the Ross/Gray standard, "Twisted").</p> <p>So what is so specifically important about <i>Blue? </i> If you follow the hype, its importance rests primarily on two things.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/w5782PQO5is?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>First, it was allegedly the first of Joni's albums to be produced by her; i.e., an album produced by its <i>female</i> writer. Indeed, it was supposedly only the second rock (or even folk-rock) album completely under the control of a woman. [Famously, Bobbie Gentry, of "Ode to Billy Joe" fame, was the first female artist to have complete control over her own material.] There had already been several solo albums by female singer-songwriters (mostly "folkies" like Joan Baez and Buffy St. Marie and, of course, Joni herself). Most significant, perhaps, was Carole King's <i>Tapestry</i>, which was released just five months prior to <i>Blue</i>. But all of those albums were <i>produced</i> by men. For a woman to have complete control over not only the lyrics and music, but also over the album's production, was basically unheard-of at the time. So even with three albums under Joni's macramé belt, this was no small thing.</p> <p>All that said, the reason I use "allegedly" and "supposedly" is that this is really an exercise in semantics. The "producer" credit on Joni's debut album, <i>Song to a Seagull</i>, is given to David Crosby; however, based on comments made by Crosby himself, production duties were shared. Joni's second album, <i>Clouds, </i>actually gives her co-production credit (in fact, it only gives her co-producer credit for one song). And Henry Levy's credit on her third album, <i>Ladies of the Canyon,</i> is "production advice." So one could legitimately claim that Joni was producing or co-producing her albums from the very beginning -- which is actually even more remarkable than if <i>Blue</i> was the first one on which she did so.</p> <p>The second thing, and the one that seems to be most discussed in the myriad articles I have seen, is the brutal "honesty" of the songs, written during and after a European jaunt taken as she was breaking up with Graham Nash and taking up with James Taylor. But Joni's lyrics have <i>always</i> been extremely honest, and deeply reflective of life, relationships, and humanity's joys and foibles, both individual (particularly including her own) and collective. In this regard, I believe the more accurate term would be "vulnerable," which is not the same thing as "honest" (though they are usually related). And given the situation surrounding the album's creation (leaving California for Europe, leaving Nash for Taylor, having a brief affair while in Europe, etc.), there <i>is</i> a much deeper sense of vulnerability on <i>Blue</i> than in the majority of songs on her prior three albums. (The one song I would say is most predictive of <i>Blue</i> in this regard -- and, indeed, of everything up to and including <i>For the Roses</i> --is "Sisotowbell Lane" from <i>Song to a Seagull</i>.)</p> <p>Another aspect of <i>Blue</i> that is important -- again, even though she already had three albums out --- is the influence it had on singer-songwriters, particularly (but by no means solely) women, and the empowerment, both musical and "business-wise," that <i>Blue</i> represented. This is particularly true given not only the release of <i>Tapestry </i>just months prior, but also the release of Cat Stevens' sophomore album, <i>Tea for the Tillerman</i>, in November 1970. With <i>Tillerman</i> and <i>Tapestry </i>close behind it, the release of <i>Blue</i> (and perhaps one or two other albums between late 1970 and late 1971) signified the beginning of an extended era of singer-songwriters: Joni's already growing influence, combined with that of Stevens and King, really catapulted singer-songwriters into the mainstream in a way that had not been nearly as true prior thereto (with the exceptions of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Joni's countryman, Gordon Lightfoot). In fact, there is a straight line from Joni, Cat and Carole -- and <i>Blue</i>, <i>Tillerman</i> and <i>Tapestry</i> -- to everyone from Don McLean and Jim Croce (who had earlier albums out, but did not achieve mainstream success until this period), to Jackson Browne and Billy Joel, to Tracy Chapman and the singer-songwriters of the '70s and '80s.</p> <p>Another aspect of <i>Blue</i>, and of Joni in general, that rarely gets talked about is her prodigious musicianship. It is rare enough to be proficient on an instrument, much less virtuosic. To be so on two or three instruments -- as well as vocally -- is positively frightening. Largely self-taught, she did take some classical piano, as well as some music theory, and worked particularly on her singing from childhood. (I have heard more than one opera singer comment that they thought Joni had been operatically trained. She was not, though she has both an operatic range and perfect voice control.) She was also one of the first guitarists -- and probably the first folk guitarist -- to play around with alternate tunings (in her case out of necessity, due to a left hand weakened from childhood disease). She also mastered the ukulele, dulcimer, and a few other strummed or picked instruments. And although her musical brilliance has been obvious since her debut album, it shines on <i>Blue</i> in a way that it does not on earlier albums. And the strict alternating of guitar songs with piano songs on <i>Blue</i> really helps focus one's attention on this. As Dusty remarked as I was writing this, Dylan may (or may not) be the better singer-songwriter, but he can't <i>touch</i> her musicianship.</p> <p>A final aspect of <i>Blue</i> that is worth noting is how Joni "borrows" from herself -- in both directions (i.e., borrowing from earlier songs, and using pieces of songs on <i>Blue</i> in later songs). My older brother (no slouch in the rock historian department) once remarked that he didn't like much of <i>Hejira</i> because there was so much "re-hashing" of earlier songs, particularly from <i>Hissing</i>. But Joni has always borrowed (sometimes heavily) from herself, as much or more so than other songwriters do. For example, parts of "Songs to Aging Children Come" (from <i>Clouds</i>), are evident in "Marcie" (from <i>Seagull</i>), and the main theme of "Boho Dance" (from <i>Hissing</i>) can be heard on one of the songs on <i>Blue</i>, as can themes from other later songs. "The Arrangement" (from <i>Ladies</i>) is a direct precursor to "Harry's House/Centerpiece" (on <i>Hissing</i>). And the entire "feeling" of <i>Hissing</i> (which is what I love most about it) can be heard on "Dawntreader" (from <i>Seagull</i>). (As an aside, the opening of "River" -- which begins with the line, "It's coming on Christmas" -- is an inside-out version of "Jingle Bells," and the coda to "Roses Blue" (from <i>Clouds</i>) is a nod to "My Favorite Things" (from <i>The Sound of Music:</i> "raindrops on roses…"<i> </i>)) Indeed, a lengthy article -- perhaps even a book -- could be written not just about how artists influence each other, and borrow from each other and external sources, but how much they borrow from themselves.</p> <p>Don't get me wrong: I love <i>Blue</i>, and always have. And I have always considered Joni a huge inspiration, and second only to Dylan as a "rock poet" (of which there are only a handful). But one could (and should) make as much hay from the 50<sup>th</sup> (or 40<sup>th</sup> or 25<sup>th</sup>, or…) anniversary of <i>any</i> of Joni's albums as is being done with <i>Blue</i>. She is simply one of rock's greatest treasures: one of its most diverse and extraordinary writers; one of its most talented musicians/singers; and one of its most significant, if not always properly heralded, influences.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4030&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="zy5zC492LNTmGAreVSfBK18JAeQgR6eqh8bZV5_UVIY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 18 Jul 2021 12:34:27 +0000 Ian Alterman 4030 at http://www.culturecatch.com A Compliment of Forgotten Lost Songs http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/4015 <span>A Compliment of Forgotten Lost Songs</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/460" lang="" about="/index.php/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>April 18, 2021 - 15:59</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/139" hreflang="en">singer-songwriter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yI-KHv7u4qE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Ex Norwegian &amp; Friends <em>Sing Jimmy Campbell</em> (Beyond Before Records, LP/CD/MP 3)</strong></p> <p>Compliments, like revenge, are sometimes best served cold.</p> <p>Jimmy Campbell is no longer here to receive his, having died in 2007 at the age of sixty-three. He left behind four exquisitely accomplished albums, and nine singles under various guises, but his true masterpiece is his haunting 45 "Michaelangelo" which he released in 1967 as The 23rd Turnoff. A thing of mystery and great charm it is a perfectly haunting period piece. Songs from his eloquent catalogue of poppy melancholia have been given a kindly backwards glance by Ex Norwegian who've got their friends in on fourteen wonderful acts of artistic affection. Campbell was a reluctant live performer but his records betray a talented intelligence. A craftsman of rare abilities, his songs stand well for these acts of deserved reanimation. To the few who know his work they will come as no surprise, but to those who've never encountered his efforts, a journey of reward will follow in the wake of listening to his re-interpretation.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BZGJvLZWn_c?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Things kick off with a true glam stomp like The Lemon Twigs in all their retro excess. "Yes It Is" features Joe Kane above searing harmonies that sound like Queen in cahoots with Mott The Hoople. A perfect opener. Shimmering and slinky, and just a little bit kinky with perhaps a touch of the Raspberries, the lyric betrays a timeless honesty of observation.</p> <p>"I can say so cause I found it to be true</p> <p> It's best to be off with your old love</p> <p> Before you're on with the new"</p> <p>"Forever Grateful" with Coke Belda is like Stealer's Wheel and The Strawbs with touches of Al Stewart via some sublime guitar licks reminiscent of a seventies sunny afternoon . A corkingly jolly affair that blends nicely with an equally joyous but more psychedelic edge which evokes a mellow Kinks or The Who in a rare pastoral vibe. A West Coast breath of Englishness.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/loXtvIn1Hmg?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>"Fate is neither here or there</p> <p> And Love is but a poor excuse"</p> <p>"Stayed Out Late Last Night" swaggers with a provocative sass. The Beach Boys in a punky vibe thanks to The Elms Estate. A power-pop masterpiece full of deft touches suggestive of The Left Banke, and one which is over all too soon.</p> <p>"Don't You Ever Think I Cry" possesses a lighter swaying piece of stadium angst with Lynyrd Skynyrd guitars to boot and Jim Camacho in fine lung form. A take that cooks up a quiet storm in an epic of restrained proportions via an emotively tasteful vocal. </p> <p>"Half Baked" delivers a louche psyche vibe. Beautiful and chamber drenched, it is piece of flamboyant disregard that slips easily into a Canned Heat blues boogie and a Blood Sweat And Tears heaviness before Rhys Marsh steers it back to a reflective haziness. If variety is the spice of life it resides in this assured collision of styles. With a staggeringly clever string arrangement as a parting mini symphony at the end it is a deftly realised accomplishment.</p> <p>As though Gilbert O'Sullivan had upped his intake of uppers, a Beatles-esque verve presides in John Ford and his slightly poppy McCartney "Missing Kissing You" -- a small pop gem that bounces by with a happy heart, breezing simply along like early Rod Stewart and The Faces with all its laconic optimism.</p> <p>"You Break My Heart In Two" cloaks Edward Rogers in a Stranglers-like psych-vibe, but with a later Bowie ache to the vocal. An essentially glam anthem with a touch of swirling vitality  suggestive of flowing scarves around the wrist. A silver-lined dream.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZzzzfMk6BfE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>"You're Spending All My Money" has Mark Johnston in a spiritual tryst with the late Brett Smiley but with "The White Album"-era John Lennon in its heaviness of heart. All breathless and deliciously fey with licks a plenty to impress with elements of T.Rex it grinds along with tremendous aplomb and an implicit  confidence of stride.</p> <p>DC Cardwell delivers "That's Right That's Me" around an early seventies Cockney Rebel flippancy, a stomping beat that drives the vocal forth like a thundering wave over walloping drums. All that glitters must be gold.</p> <p>A breath of world weary elegance arrives in the form of John Howard's smouldering but masterful ownership of the ballad "Baby Walk Out With Your Darling Man," a confidently restrained slice of comforting pop. A cry in whatever drink you happen to be holding at the time of sadness, this perfectly realised this little watercolour of wistful nostalgia wanders into the mind to find a place to stay. As restrained a piece of pop whimsy with as sharp an edge as one could hope for, it is both glorious and gorgeous.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/g4wZ0f_2OSc?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>"Baby walk out with your darling man</p> <p> And hold the lovely day</p> <p> In the palm of your hand</p> <p> You had lovely yellow hair</p> <p> But now its turned to gold.</p> <p> So baby walk out with your darling man"</p> <p>"Flowers Are Flowering" features Cherry Parke in a garagey mood echoing early Who in cahoots with the late Roky Erikson -- a psych mash-up of swirling lights and incense smoke. Randy California's Spirit as a combined force with The Only Ones though the song remains uniquely its own masterful creation.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/n3CnjRMFOik?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Rome56 make "Paris You're In Paris" into a perfectly casual pop moment. A sixties throwaway vibe pinned out as a sheer delight. Echoes of Carnaby Street, mini skirts and love beads. A happy note from a more innocent time.</p> <p>"When I Cross Your Path" is Esteban Cisnero swaggering in a far from angelic conversation with a punk pop psych-edge of simmering restraint and is an enthusiastic little diamond of a song that hits the heart and soothes the soul with an immediacy in its gait.</p> <p>There's a very London postcard of personal observations  set to music  in the signing off of "Loving You Is All I Do." A lurching confidence oozes through Kevin Robertson's lovely hazy, lazy vocal above the plucked strings oozes through every pore of this slightly power-pop garage song delivered with a petulance awash with subtle strings. The ghost of Syd Barrett reigns within this wonderful piece English whimsy.</p> <p>"Silently the dark blue clouds</p> <p> Go drifting, always chasing</p> <p> and they don't give me time</p> <p> To find your face.</p> <p>Eventually you'll go I know</p> <p> To someone else's table</p> <p> Wearing sword-white gloves</p> <p> On snow-white hands."</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3wZbwVVG8EU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Jimmy Campbell deserves to be better respected and more widely known. He was man who had a neat turn of phase and an ear for a perfect melody to set those words within. What Ex Norwegian have accomplished in this assemblage with their friends, is the realisation of a huge labour of love, and an act of devotion and respect for a talent that was never quite granted that recognition in his day. They have created the perfect key to unleash the interest of the curious. A pilgrim-like journey to appreciate the talent of a largely forgotten entity. It is a humbling enterprise and a telling tale of the vagaries of fate, and that talent may not get you recognised, but in the long run, in the right hands, it may get the efforts that you left behind, lovingly remembered.</p> </div> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-add"><a href="/index.php/node/4015#comment-form" title="Share your thoughts and opinions." hreflang="en">Add new comment</a></li></ul><section> <a id="comment-2636"></a> <article data-comment-user-id="0" class="js-comment"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1632443451"></mark> <div> <h3><a href="/index.php/comment/2636#comment-2636" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="en">Jimmy Campbell </a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Thanx for the kind words sir!<br /> It was a labor of luv<br /> E</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2636&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="TTVNBPRVmKuXSlozhtk0vPUm8SDh5DgvI5hY7nJx1FA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/index.php/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/index.php/user/0"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/extra_small/public/default_images/avatar.png?itok=RF-fAyOX" width="50" height="50" alt="Generic Profile Avatar Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> <p>Submitted by <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Edward Rogers </span> on April 21, 2021 - 17:17</p> </footer> </article> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4015&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="9DFLJagmTARRegg9MoAZTWucOF21XAYGsZGJZouphzY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 18 Apr 2021 19:59:45 +0000 Robert Cochrane 4015 at http://www.culturecatch.com Night Falls & Lullabies http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3969 <span>Night Falls &amp; Lullabies </span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>September 7, 2020 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/139" hreflang="en">singer-songwriter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity align-center"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2020/2020-09/cecilie-anna-new-bird.jpg?itok=R3oxUkgj" width="1200" height="1200" alt="Thumbnail" title="cecilie-anna-new-bird.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><strong>CECILIE ANNA: <em>New Bird</em> (Fame)</strong></p> <p>Some of the best albums startle you with their simplistic arrangements, letting the vocals and piano and/or guitar pull you along. Think early Joni Mitchell, Elton John, Cat Stevens, This Mortal Coil, Anthony &amp; The Johnson. Less is more, less allows the poetry of the lyrics and the tone of the vocals and instruments guide you on your musical journey. Add Norwegian siren Cecilie Anna's latest long player to the storied singer-songwriter circle. You may have read a recent review on this site of her outstanding album <a href="http://culturecatch.com/node/3963"><em>I'm Here</em></a> from a few years ago, but this album may be even better. </p> <p>This is music best experienced late at night or on rainy, gray winter days. There is melancholic beauty in each note that is tethered by her delicate yet dynamic piano and keyboard playing. Her mournful vocals suggest an unfussy clarity of divine origin. Moreover, the album opens with a church organ playing a lulling melody and then the reverential vocals of Cecilie drop in a half-minute later:</p> <p>"When the night falls and I</p> <p>Lay my head to rest</p> <p>And the sky turns so weak</p> <p>And falls into the night</p> <p>I have done all I can to follow you</p> <p>'Cause from your heart</p> <p>A light shines on me"</p> <p>We, as listeners, understand immediately that we've been invited to the temple of her soul.</p> <p><iframe seamless="" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3030008121/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=2257798323/transparent=true/" style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;">New Bird by Cecilie Anna</iframe></p> <p>On the title track "New Bird," one of the album's more uptempo confessional ballads, Cecilie shares her personal quest with us. Her piano augmented by her lyrical flute playing and clear vocals. This is an artist laying bare her feelings for her lover.</p> <p>"Lay your head upon my shoulder</p> <p>Lay your thoughts upon my day</p> <p>Lay your hand upon my beating heart</p> <p>I'll see you through the night</p> <p>I'll see you through the morning light"</p> <p>Our very own CC writer and UK poet extraordinaire Robert Cochrane along with Welshman Steve Hywyn Jones (Brodyr-Y-Ffin) supplied the evocatively simple, but brilliant ballad "Stranger Canyons;" lyrics by Rob, music by Steve. Just vocals and piano emoting:</p> <p>"Consider what the years have done</p> <p>Laughter still, but sorrows found</p> <p>Follows us where tears can run</p> <p>Over and over </p> <p>Through</p> <p>Stranger canyons, stranger canyons"</p> <p>Her voice seems to find solace in the truth of the lyrics; each note gaining strength by recognizing the ravages of time on one's life. The resignation that time marches on.</p> <p><iframe seamless="" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/track=3263490532/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/" style="border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;">Winter Turns to Spring by Cecilie Anna</iframe></p> <p>And on the very next song, "Winter Turns to Spring," she finds hope in the dawning of a new day, a new season of hope. Hope springs eternal when love is at stake, when love is a worthy reward, even one may have to wait for it across "borders" or years. </p> <p>"I'll never leave you</p> <p>‘Cause you never left me</p> <p>Across these borders</p> <p>Through heart and time</p> <p>I'm still here</p> <p>'Cause you never left me</p> <p>I know I'll see you</p> <p>As winter turns to spring"</p> <p>Produced by Gisle Ostrem and Cecilie with a religious reverence throughout, <em>New Bird</em> nourishes the spirit with each listen. And it is a rare and beautiful bird, indeed.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3969&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="fjFRu3C5xENqHWajKJEpk8PU3HkxhPCaa0QIn5un1_Y"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 07 Sep 2020 14:00:00 +0000 Dusty Wright 3969 at http://www.culturecatch.com A Measurement of Distance http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3965 <span>A Measurement of Distance</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/460" lang="" about="/index.php/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>August 11, 2020 - 12:02</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/139" hreflang="en">singer-songwriter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/umMH4TnRqyk?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>JOHN HOWARD: <em>To The Left Of The Moon's Reflection </em>(JH Records)</strong></p> <p>Exile and absence are closely connected to the creative muse, a resonance confirmed by John Howard's latest opus. Minted in Spain, but as English as cricket, warm ale and saucy, seaside postcards, it is a gift and pleasure to behold. Within it various musical ghosts are raised to languidly stroll in the hot Spanish afternoons, all rather pale and out of context in their new found surroundings. A sense of exile has as much to do with one's state of mind, as it has with that of physical geography, and absence can be as up close and personal as it can be distant via the reveries of guilt and memory. All these aspects play their part. It is a delightful collection of songs that reflect a concise and reflective nature at home with his gifts. Unhurried and lacking in the drive to court success, and all the better as it details a natural and effortless confidence. A statement of fact as opposed to a wish to impress. It does though both in charm and artistry, but without ever being showy. A perfectly sensual cup of tea, but one that will win over coffee drinkers, and those who prefer something a little stronger to warm and kiss their parted lips.</p> <p>"And Another Day" has Kevin Ayers-like strummed languidness. Leisurely and almost louche it is the perfect opener as a hymn to a new twenty four hours.</p> <blockquote> <p>"And another day begins</p> <p> It's become so habitual</p> <p> As I stare at the sky</p> <p> Not a cloud passing by all the might haves.</p> <p> Along the lane a car disappears</p> <p> Leaving dust in the air..."</p> </blockquote> <p>There is a poet in the heart of Howard's reflective lyricism, but his muse never overburdens his use of words.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jo9xIbVAeeU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>"Echoes Of Pauline" contains a perfect atonement with the passing of time, and a different view of youthfulness arrogance and self-obsession. An apology through the years and a late-ruing of admission and regret.</p> <blockquote> <p>"It's the frequency of thoughts</p> <p> Of the friendship I once caught</p> <p> Like a moonglow shining on a young horizon</p> <p> Maybe you will hear this song</p> <p> And feel that we can still belong to memories."</p> </blockquote> <p>With "I'm Over You" there's the stride and verve of early Cat Stevens in his early Deram Records days. The song distills the the desire to move on whilst pretty much standing still by running amok, but makes the listener feel that singer might just be extolling his recovery a little too ardently. Some people never leave our souls completely even if we no longer love them and have to write a song aa a form exorcism.</p> <blockquote> <p>"The rain fell down the window</p> <p> Like a desolate month of tears</p> <p> Washing away all the days  </p> <p> You said that you'd be here."</p> </blockquote> <p>In "My Patient Heart" a cascade of British vignettes cascade and fall away into an admission of Spanish settings. Church bells and flowers and wistful reflections that suggest Dream Academy and "Life In A Northern Town."</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Gj5qc8VcO7U?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Possessed by a McCartney style gusto 'Outlines' is a neat take on just how much we rely upon others to bring the colours into our lives</p> <blockquote> <p>"When you colour me in</p> <p> And create the substance</p> <p> In the spaces between the outlines</p> <p> Lowry-esque figure on a winter landscape</p> <p> Anticipating beauty beneath you moving hand"</p> </blockquote> <p>"Chime" brings a Brian Wilson good vibe to things. Part choral progression and part swooping melody it is a sweet meander with a certain cynicism at its deceptive heart.</p> <blockquote> <p>"Well the winds do chime</p> <p> And the feet do climb</p> <p> As we leave behind</p> <p> All the bad times....</p> <p> And the bells do chime</p> <p> And the sun does shine</p> <p> As we read the signs</p> <p> That will guide us"</p> </blockquote> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Hij4nR9CQEo?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>A sense of pilgrimage, resigned and seeking a sensibility of need and its reward and satisfaction which leads neatly into "Injuries Sustained In Surviving" and a slightly folk-imbued kookiness. A series of rather English sentiments it has a vibe of Dylan misaligned to the lyrical content. It also suggest Simon and Garfunkel at their travelogue, observational best.</p> <blockquote> <p>"Crazy situations in the middle of the station</p> <p> I can't even remember my name</p> <p> Someone's got my ticket</p> <p> See a beach ball and want to kick it</p> <p> 'Cause I'm flying against the slipstream</p> <p> On this godforsaken ride"</p> </blockquote> <p>"Centuries" explores the pastoral folk element usually explored by Bill Fay.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YclAnsGncdA?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <blockquote> <p>"Beneath a hill stands a tree</p> <p> It's been there for centuries</p> <p> in the winter it becomes a web against the sky</p> <p> In the summer it protects from burning light</p> <p> we sat against the tree when we were lovers</p> <p> and when the city called</p> <p> It stood and watched us leave"</p> </blockquote> <p>A perfect revelation of a refined awareness of time and its passing in baroque setting.  A psalm-like elegance resides in its unadorned mastery. It carries beautifully in its concision. Exquisite.</p> <p>"Illusions Of Happiness" is pure John Howard. Jaunty, accomplished, and strangely beguiling, but with an inherent classicism and refinement. Even when singing of cicadas in song he sounds perfectly English and one thinks of thrushes, nightingales and blackbirds.</p> <blockquote> <p>"The blue of the ocean</p> <p> The boats in the harbour</p> <p> The shouts of the fishermen leaving at dawn</p> <p> I stand for a second remembering something</p> <p> It flickers for a moment like a forgotten song"</p> </blockquote> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FUdYgmSvlMo?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>There is an almost chorister conceit to the pure and confident "Water" and a vocal that defies both age and time, perfectly underscored with a neat percussive undertow. Free of studio tricks and compensations, as indeed is the entire affair, it has a the spirit of Clifford T Ward at its centre as it pipes forward. The perfect closer, laced with melancholia, but a happy assured sadness, the kind that caresses and cures the heart and the head. A zen-like contemplation, both scenic and secular, and a prayer of sorts.</p> <blockquote> <p>"A vast sky of constellation</p> <p> Is my roof of dreams tonight</p> <p> Lying listening to the sounds</p> <p> From far off hills</p> <p> In the middle of the lake</p> <p> Lies something still"</p> </blockquote> <p><em>To The Left Of The Moon's Reflection</em> is a perfect gem of considered achievements. It is also the first album by John Howard to be distributed in America ( but his seventeenth collection) where he was only previously available as a prohibitively pricey import. A perfect calling card from, and a means of introduction to, an exceptionally English talent, deftly left on a silver tray, like in older days that we know were far from better, though they had a certain elegance. May he continue in his backward glances towards the country he once called home. His reflections bring reward to those that listen. </p> <p>The fondness of absence and the grace of longing, quietly perfected.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3965&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="OvLfZoeRW71sJpuv3w00R2Fto7_NhAbBUQ4AJgw6zik"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 11 Aug 2020 16:02:15 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3965 at http://www.culturecatch.com Young Is A Thorny Rose http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3951 <span>Young Is A Thorny Rose</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/steveholtje" lang="" about="/index.php/users/steveholtje" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Steve Holtje</a></span> <span>June 25, 2020 - 10:52</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/139" hreflang="en">singer-songwriter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vJzqRDX8jGo?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Neil Young: <em>Homegrown</em> (Reprise)</strong></p> <p>There's a common therapeutic strategy: you write a letter to a person expressing your feelings, and then you don't send it.</p> <p>But what happens if, 45 years later, you want to buy an expensive train set or whatever, so you sell the letter? That's basically the story of <i>Homegrown</i>. Young wrote and recorded it in 1974-75 while his relationship with Carrie Snodgrass crumbled, scheduled its release, and then withdrew it. To fill the gap, Reprise finally released <i>Tonight's the Night</i>, so that worked out well.</p> <p>Over the ensuing decades, Young found places to recycle the best songs on <i>Homegrown</i>: "Star of Bethlehem" and the title track (the latter re-recorded with Crazy Horse and much the better for it) filled out the odds-and-sods side two of <i>American Stars and Bars</i> (1977), "Little Wing" showed up on <i>Hawks &amp; Doves</i> (1980), as did <i>Homegrown</i> outtake "The Old Homestead." Young  first gave "Love Is a Rose" to Linda Ronstadt, who hit the country charts with it in 1975; then Young's version was included on his 1977 three-LP retrospective <i>Decade</i>, a pioneer in the concept of using such compilations to let fans finally hear previously unreleased tracks. "White Line," a duo with The Band's Robbie Robertson recorded in London while on tour, was re-recorded with Crazy Horse for <i>Ragged Glory</i> (1990); the duo version has a certain off-hand charm.</p> <p>All of which raises the question, how about the seven tracks on <i>Homegrown</i> that haven't been on an LP before?</p> <p>The only entirely brilliant previously unheard track is "Vacancy," a full-band rocker that I'm surprised Young never recycled sooner. Perhaps he didn’t because it's so lyrically vicious towards, presumably, Snodgrass. Nonetheless, this by itself is enough to make me buy the album.</p> <p>As for the rest, they sound like therapy and filler, though that doesn't keep a couple of them from being worthy of release.</p> <p>The three therapy tracks lead off the album. Perhaps the first two could have been developed into better songs with some editing of the lyrics, which are often clunky and awkward, not so much art as merely morose musings. Okay, yes, some of Young's best '70s work could be characterized as morose musings, but not merely. The musings on "Separate Ways" and, especially, "Try" are just poorly written. From the latter: "Darlin', the door is open / to my heart, and I’ve been hopin’ / you won’t be the one to struggle with the key / We’ve got lots of time to get together if we try." And you’ve got to hear it sung to fully appreciate its awkwardness. Nor does the song get better than that horrible opening metaphor. The bridge: "And I try to wash my hands / and I try to make amends / and I try to count my friends." "Mexico" shows promise, but at 1:41, isn't developed into a full song. (A concert version was included on the obscure Young film <i>Trunk Show</i>.)</p> <p>The most blatant entry in the filler is "Florida," which is Young talking (literally talking) about a UFO experience while somebody runs a wet finger along the rim of a glass, sounding like lazy feedback. After having heard it once, I've been skipping it ever since. "Kansas" is two barely there verses about a one-night stand; Young sings so quietly, it's almost as though he's embarrassed (though not so embarrassed that he didn't perform it live for <i>Trunk Show</i>). Almost elevating itself above filler is "We Don’t Smoke It No More," a blues that's musically attractive, with some good harmonica and guitar by Young over band backing -- but the minimal lyric is a drug goof. Fortunately the focus is firmly on the music.</p> <p>So, the math. One excellent "new" song, two of interest, five we're already familiar with, one of which is an alternate version worth hearing, and four that do not live up to release-worthy standards. But I'll be purchasing it anyway.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3951&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="cqrmuPwkLB7Z2wIVTvHulO3BbS7I2rvuCwjnf8Ju4aw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 25 Jun 2020 14:52:08 +0000 Steve Holtje 3951 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "Parachute" http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3945 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Parachute&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/webmaster" lang="" about="/index.php/users/webmaster" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Webmaster</a></span> <span>May 21, 2020 - 12:23</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/139" hreflang="en">singer-songwriter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UXPOfnpMrbs?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>From upstate New York comes this wonderfully heartfelt, sing-songy ballad "Parachute" by the indie folk vocal duo The Sea The Sea -- Chuck and Mira Costa -- from their forthcoming album from AntiFragile Music due in August. Music this catchy will find a much larger audience. Enjoy it and share it via the links on this page. Stay safe!</p> <p> </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3945&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="A_czudYSYwqFXKBnXsZC-mhnET4GocMwZ9oTQsG34_U"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 21 May 2020 16:23:57 +0000 Webmaster 3945 at http://www.culturecatch.com A Still Life In Life Stilled Days http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3937 <span>A Still Life In Life Stilled Days</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/460" lang="" about="/index.php/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>April 17, 2020 - 08:13</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/139" hreflang="en">singer-songwriter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2020/2020-04/john_5_july_2018.jpg?itok=GeYn8tfb" width="1200" height="900" alt="Thumbnail" title="john_5_july_2018.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><strong> John Howard - "In The Stillbeat Of A Silent Day"</strong></p> <p>For half a century, the 45, the single, the seven inch, was the sole means of the cultural sharing of a song. It was a bright idea etched in spiral grooves that caught the heart and made you want to own it. An object of passion and a thing of joy. Something that you sought and wished for. It facilitated Little Richard and Elvis Presley. The Beatles and The Stones, Blondie and The Sex Pistols, Talking Heads and Nirvana. Even singles that failed became legendary artefacts. The Velvet Underground, Love, and the MC5 never troubled the charts, but if you had a 45 of theirs you had a thing of significance. A brave stab in the dark. </p> <p>The digital age made things uncertain for the 45. The charts were less of a barometer of taste. The market became more disparate and the discs got smaller and more shiny, and then the download rendered them largely irrelevant. It seemed like its days of dominance were spent. Yet a new democracy was emerging that made music instantly available. A record from decades earlier could once more challenge a new release because for some reason, an advert or a cultural event, it had again been rendered current, and this time it didn't require a physical "Rush-Release" via the record label in a physical form. It was there already.</p> <p>So the single had a rebirth. Vinyl remained the encapsulation of the finished statement, the definitive object existence of a bright idea in a picture sleeve and on wax of many different colours. The download meant no journey to a record store had to be made, though many thankfully still are. You could hear a song and send it to a friend. You didn't need to copy it onto a cassette, or a CDR. Downloads became audio postcards, literal singing telegrams. a means towards instant sharing and immediate gratification. The revolution might not have simply been televised. it had gone one swifter, it had been digitized.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oAHbvEIp928?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>The single is now a means of instant alert, a reaction that takes longer to record than it does to share. The waiting game is largely over, though we still anticipate and wait to prepare. to do things properly. In the blink of a mere month's existence, the world has become an alien place. A landscape of desertion. Culture has in many ways lost its physical hold. We cannot go to the cinema, congregate at a gig, visit a theatre. We can neither marry or bury those we love. The certainty of faith on Sundays has been paused. We have become entombed in our apartments and houses like monks on an unintended retreat. Nothing is as it was. We are all living in a time of plague. People are dying in a strangely democratic fashion across the world. We are experiencing zen and loss on an industrial scale. We cannot even comfort our dying. Hospitals have become a place of utility, exclusion and bald function.</p> <p>And so the muses are heard. They congregate like anxious birds, Those that can, write and draw and sing. Those that can't may be have forced to try to for the first time. In postcard pretty exile in Spain, that quintessentially English singer songwriter John Howard began to write some words. Pressure sometimes begets beauty as its own reward. A title came. A line he could add painterly impressions to, "In the Stillbeat Of A Silent Day." A poem set to music, it is the perfect thing to share in the song it has become. Reflective without being overly sad. Mournful yet not morose, it is a beautiful take on all that has been stilled and taken down.</p> <blockquote type="cite"> <p>In the stillbeat of a silent day</p> <p>Saved for trilled birdsong in the tree</p> <p>In my soulsearch for the lad who stayed</p> <p>Lost in the wonder for the heart it thieved</p> <p> </p> <p>In the stillbeat of a silent day</p> <p>Streets are not peopled by the noise of speed</p> <p>In the glimmer of reflected skies</p> <p>Empty of love songs we forgot to heed</p> <p> </p> <p>In the loudbreath of deserted streets</p> <p>Heaving beneath leaden clouds of ache</p> <p>In the heartlight of tomorrow's prayer</p> <p>Ears at the windows when the songbirds ache</p> <p> </p> <p>In the stillbeat of a silent day</p> <p>Doors blind the sunlight tapping soft</p> <p>As I breakstride with the dogs unstrayed</p> <p>Out to their dreams of the field-bathed croft</p> <p> </p> <p>In the stillbeat of a silent day</p> <p>Smiles beneath masks where no part plays</p> <p>Joining gloved hands for the angels care</p> <p>Cheers from the balconies' grateful gaze</p> </blockquote> <p>It is a song that musically operates along the lines of the late David Ackles. A hymn or a psalm suggestive of choirs. Lyrically it has echoes of William Blakes's "Jerusalem" and the more pastoral musings of Robert Frost, but then John Howard has always been a closet poet in the arcs and turns of his lyric writing. It ends as almost celebratory dirge reaching effortlessly towards the multi-coloured light coming through stained glass as it draws to a close. Soothing and reflective the song encapsulates a global tragedy in a personal fashion and as such brings comfort. What more could a single song hope to achieve? </p> <p>The single remains alive and relevant in these troubled times, and this one brings solace in its wake. It deserves not only to be heard, but to cherished and shared. A once in a lifetime response to a crisis we for which we were, and remain still, woefully unprepared.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3937&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="1xOUIDjOjh3DpO4oPWCbBj3qt6xHzVxSyZduYSMYDJw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 17 Apr 2020 12:13:19 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3937 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "Runaway" http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3923 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Runaway&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>February 22, 2020 - 08:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/139" hreflang="en">singer-songwriter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uhQhfelnC5M?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Happened upon this singer/songwriter via a PR friend and was immediately drawn into his easy delivery and heartfelt lyrics, so much so that I started exploring his fantastic catalog of work. He's lived in NYC, Austin, and now Nashville. And he's absorbed the best of each city. He reminds me of early Jackson Browne. <a href="https://open.spotify.com/track/7q2Gop07LK0mswNlgeo4jS?si=M1qBKxfsSZuXINgWZ8SPEg" target="_blank">"Runaway"</a> is an easy slice of love balladry that will warm your soul. A refreshing song about commitment.</p> <blockquote> <p>"I refuse to runaway / I'm going to stay."</p> </blockquote> <p>If you don't know <a href="http://www.anthonydacosta.com/about" target="_blank"><strong>Anthony da Costa</strong></a> you may want to take some time out of your busy social media schedule and do so today.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3923&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="d8UMuuKk9i3jJxU5y8phlEhdlyqk8x85dgNdsXQ5sog"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 22 Feb 2020 13:43:12 +0000 Dusty Wright 3923 at http://www.culturecatch.com Waging Heavy Music http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3855 <span>Waging Heavy Music</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>June 24, 2019 - 12:26</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/139" hreflang="en">singer-songwriter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lvg6VJ77oLE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>I finally got around to reading Neil Young's exceptional, non-linear, 2012 autobiography <em>Waging Heavy Peace </em>and it got me thinking about his recorded output of music. Moreover, it got me thinking about the presentation of not just his catalog, but all of my favorite recorded music, and why I've fallen in love with vinyl... again. There's something organic and soothing and dynamic about music that was captured on analog equipment and released on an organic format, i.e., vinyl. Knowing how committed Neil is to presenting his music in its highest audio state -- his short-lived Pono Music player was created to share the highest-resolution digital music available any where and his commitment to release a treasure trove of material from his archives sounding as best they could is not beyond admirable. Having finished his 502 page book, and having gotten back into vinyl again, I couldn't wait to hear some of his recently released archival content in analog.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uOq93UqN9vU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Neil Young: <em>Hitchhiker</em> (Reprise)</strong></p> <p>Volume 2 of the <a href="https://www.discogs.com/label/355203-Neil-Young-Archives-Performance-Series" target="_blank">Neil Young Archives Performance Series</a> -- the Performance Series of the Neil Young Archives is composed of never before released live performances -- was originally recorded in 1976 but not released until August of 2017. It's an all acoustic album recorded live in the studio on August 11, 1976 at Indigo Studio's in Malibu, CA. The 10-track album contains some of Young's better known tunes plus two previously unreleased tracks. As was the case with most Neil's best albums, it was produced by Young's long-time studio collaborator David Briggs. This new release adds post production work by John Hanlon. He's produced his most recent works including <i>Peace Trail, Earth, </i>and<i> The Monsanto Years</i>.</p> <p>The songs were recorded in a single session and the simplicity of just Neil's voice, occasional harmonica, and acoustic guitar capture the magic that Rick Rubin displayed on his Johnny Cash sessions. Naked and vulnerable. Many of the songs would not appear on vinyl until years later. "Hitchhiker," for example, did not officially appear until 2010's <i>Le Noise </i>and naturally sounds worlds apart from the original. Moreover, the acoustic version herein of "Powderfinger" is much tamer than the Crazy Horse rocking raggedness on <em>Rust Never Sleeps</em>.</p> <p><i>Hitchhiker</i> contains two previously unreleased tracks that have remained in the vaults since '76. The epic heartfelt ballad "Hawaii" is a personal tale of loss. Followed by "Give Me Strength" a mid-tempo love song Neil use to perform live in the mid-'70s. His mournful harmonica playing add a touch of emotional poignancy to the acoustic proceedings.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ctRxe7nwsoc?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Neil Young: <em>Roxy - Tonight's The Night Liv</em>e (Reprise)</strong></p> <p>In 1973 Neil Young (guitar, piano, harmonica, vocals) along with Billy Talbot (bass), Ralph Molina (drums), Nils Lofgren (piano &amp; guitar), and Ben Keith (pedal steel &amp; slide guitar) recorded <em>Tonight's The Night</em>, an homage in sorts to losing his comrades Danny Whitten (Crazy Horse) and roadie Bruce Berry to heroin overdoses. After finishing the album (wouldn't be released for 2 more years), he decided to celebrate with a gig at the newly opened Roxy on Sunset Strip. Released in 2018 for the first time on 2-lps/3 glorious sides of vinyl, it's Neil and his Santa Monica Flyers in all of their loose and ragged glory. The playing is tight, the mood upbeat, the audience lucky to have witnessed a new set of music in its entirety with Neil at the height of his musical prowess. This album -- Volume 4 in the Performance Series -- doesn't have the heavy dark vibe of the studio release. Neil cracks jokes and asides between songs. "Welcome to Miami Beach," he states at the beginning of the set. The band adds an impromptu cover of "Roll Out The Barrel" before launching into "Mellow My Mind." "Tired Eyes" is especially poignant even after another more "welcome to Miami Beach" banter warning the audience that it is indeed "a sad song." Neil's electrical guitar playing is wonderfully mournful against Keith's pedal steel. My favorite track from <em>Tonight's The Night</em>, studio or live.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0RwB3tLQams?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Neil Young &amp; Stray Gators: <i>Tuscaloosa</i> (Reprise)</strong></p> <p>Released a few weeks ago, this is Volume 5 of the <a href="https://www.discogs.com/label/355203-Neil-Young-Archives-Performance-Series" target="_blank">Neil Young Archives Performance Series</a> and it is a must-own collection of killer tunes with his fab band the Stray Gators -- Tim Drummond on bass, Kenny Buttrey on drums, Jack Nitzche on piano, and Ben Keith on pedal steel &amp; slide guitar). This archival set was recorded in February 1973 at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Besides songs from <em>Time Fade Aways</em>, the set list included five tunes from <em>Harvest,</em> the title tune from <em>After The Gold Rush,</em> and "Here We Are in the Years" from his debut <em>Neil Young</em>. According to Neil:</p> <blockquote> <p>"<em>Tuscaloosa</em> is as close as <em>Time Fades Away II</em> that we'll get."</p> </blockquote> <p>Indeed it is. There is an energy that just swings. His band swings with an ease that allows Neil to sing and play with ease and comfort, like a pair of your favorite jeans. Plus there's an edge that is missing from many of the studio versions of these tunes. Listen to that energy crackle on "New Mama" a tune from "Tonight's The Night." It's a much different vibe, too. "Don't Be Denied" closes this set and it's an extension of the band's prowess and Neil's command of his material. </p> <p> </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3855&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="JX5giDHduhU77gzgJcdVoWoC-AUNJwL_r1FxDlxNmgg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 24 Jun 2019 16:26:08 +0000 Dusty Wright 3855 at http://www.culturecatch.com Now We Are Sixteen http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3845 <span>Now We Are Sixteen</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/460" lang="" about="/index.php/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>May 24, 2019 - 12:05</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/139" hreflang="en">singer-songwriter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1200" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-05/cut_the_wire_inner_bag_square_possible_photo.jpg?itok=QeZ8ucgt" title="cut_the_wire_inner_bag_square_possible_photo.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Photo Credit: John Howard</figcaption></figure><p><strong>John Howard <em>Cut The Wire</em> (You Are The Cosmos)</strong></p> <p>As the last century died, English singer-songwriter John Howard was but a glimmer and and glint in the vinyl graveyards. Staring out from the cover of his sole LP <em>Kid In A Big World</em> like an early '70s suited and booted Dorian Gray, he was a lost, late arrival on the glittering tail-coats of Glam. Part Elton without the faux American affectations, a dash of Bowie at his piano-drenched best, a twist of the panache his American camp soul brother, Jobriath, plus an echo and a whisper of Noel Coward all louche and lounge, Howard had talent to burn, and a career to earn, but fate had other plans. His audacious maiden single 'Goodbye Suzie' was banned by the BBC, for being too depressing, short-hand for homophobia via a then closeted executive. Two further albums went unreleased by CBS, and after a career in A&amp;R and a spate of heroic but neglected 45s, one produced by Trevor Horn, he drifted into A&amp;R, and then into early retirement after a sojourn of singing on a cruise ship, the ultimate death knell to one's natural credibility and craft. </p> <p>There the sad tale should end and almost did. His dreams were literally packed and forgotten in the attic, but albums have an endless life as constantly arriving late letters to strangers. Such was the fate of <em>Kid In A Big World</em>. On its rediscovery and re-release in 2004, so came an interest in the man who made it. The reviews were beyond the usual enthusiasm heaped upon a worthy obscurity, he had songs included on the cover mounted cds of <em>Uncut</em> magazine, and when his comeback album <em>The Dangerous Hours</em> appeared the following year it garnered high praise in <em>The Guardian</em>. Here was a man whose talent had been moth-balled, but well stored. Next came the two albums rejected and refused by CBS and since there has been a dizzying confetti of quality releases, and now with <em>Cut The Wire</em> he is sixteen.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tO9F6StZng0?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>This album is the perfectly realised, utterly understated creation of a man in leisure to his own divine devices, but with nothing left to prove,and nobody to please but himself. It exudes a natural effortless eloquence and "So Here I Go" is a magical folky hoe-down of a beginning. A mellow sequence of vistas imbued with a late '60s into the '70s wistfulness that is reminiscent of the late Alan Hull (Lindisfarne) in tandem with a more perfectly focused Incredible String Band. "Remains" sells a plaintive treatise on memory and time. "If you concentrate on the sky you'll see me flying away" and has echoes of Klaatu and their calling of all members of inter-planetary crafts. With an exquisite undertow of organ it builds to a smouldering, near-epic anthem, subtle and restrained. There are suggestions of both Bill Fay and David Ackles also at play in the moodiness employed. In "Pre-Dawn," Howard magics a sombre Beatles chamber and baroque inflection where elements of "She's Leaving Home" and the trials and tribulations of a Miss E Rigby meld with aspects of "Strawberry Fields Forever." A stunning arrangement, clever enough to acknowledge the influences but equally adept at stepping beyond them. A song of many deft strokes and touches.</p> <p>"Becoming" is another perfect addition to Howard's haunting canon of reflective, heart straining ballads, total evidence that a little sorrow makes for an aching beauty. Smouldering sufficiently intense to almost burst into flame. "The nights are longer when the days bring in no light." A song of the acceptance of time and the hauntings of the past. The majesty of a backwards glancing melancholia. "Keep Going Angel" holds a whiff of European decadence with a Glam inflection bubbling under and driving the whole affair, elements of "Hunky Dory," Bowie held in check with hints of the maverick tendencies of B.C Camplight also swirls to the mind. With "Cut The Wire," "Pressed my face against the window and wrote I love you with my breath" is a line that any poet, this one included would be happy to have observed and preserved. The song has a gloomy optimism, a plethora of polaroid framed elements, excerpts from a far from teenage opera, but all imbued with a wondering warmth, and a musical box conclusion. With "Idiot Days" there's that skip and a hop one encounters in Paul Williams at his jaunty best, but with a sorrowful Howard regretful glance of resigned woe. At the start of "We Are" you could be briefly entertaining Nico on a rare hit of Prozac, but it quickly strides into a sweep of sheer eloquence:</p> <blockquote> <p>"We are the essence of our memories. We are the remnants of our dreams."</p> </blockquote> <p>A certain Brian Wilson moodiness drives and underpins this piano steeped enterprise.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/59yUZiReGAw?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>The quirkily entitled "Jean Genet Just Imagined" ghosts aspects of The Beatles "Penny Lane" but gifts it a certain slinkiness and subtle grace that is as masterful as it is haunting. An exercise in how to be influenced, caress them sublimely and move swiftly on. The proceedings end with what should be the swish of a heavily draped gold brocaded magenta velvet curtain. "Long Since" perfectly equips such a requirement. A straining longing á la Elton, that arc of grace that Randy Newman can so effortlessly serve, and Laura Nyro made her signature motif, bold yet vulnerable with a powerful unfettered melody this is a lullaby that ends in goodbye. </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bhblFsDArCo?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><em>Cut The Wire</em> is an album of rare majesty and artful touches without ever seeming brash or showy. John Howard is man at home with himself and his gifts that he is only too glad to share after the wilderness years. He has and continues to, make up for lost time, but will never actually catch up with himself for one simple reason, his verve and accomplishment simply will not allow him to so do. Such is the reward to those who encounter his gifts.</p> <p>An album to savour by candlelight, a fine red and an open fire, it is a rare treat that cannot fail to astound or entertain. These days Mr. Howard is less of a Dorian Gray, more of a piano stool Walt Whitman in all of his bewhiskered elegance with hats.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3845&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="IEcGKGHbZXjwwQGRzyNAC7gt8ACNQxYivURzC_8Xnoc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 24 May 2019 16:05:26 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3845 at http://www.culturecatch.com