New Songs From the Old Country (Evergreene Music)
By Brian Arsenault
I’m a bit late getting to this gem and it is one. A rare gem that perhaps could only come out of New York — especially the “TriangleBelowCanalSt.” — where there is as much diversity as just about anywhere in the world.
Diversity of instruments — some I am not sure how to pronounce or spell. What’s a charango? Diversity of influences — from the frozen tundra of Mother Russia to the deserts of North Africa. All channeled through an American jazz sensibility with traces of bluegrass, blues and rock.
I know. I’m not being clear enough. But it’s hard since there’s a good chance you’ve never heard anything like it before if you aren’t familiar with the band.
Eastern and Western rhythms intermingle. Stringed instruments from around the world are combined. Is that a flute? No a penny whistle. Maybe both.
It’s music that seems both terribly foreign and yet very comfortable. You might like playing it as a Holiday album, whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year. People might smile and start to dance a step or two. On the other hand, they may go ‘What the hell is this?’
A caravan moves across a desert before we decided to hate each other to death. Maybe after we stop.
You move from a room where an Irish folk tune is being played to a room full of jazz, then back again to the penny whistle and so on and so forth till you might feel a bit dizzy. Happy though.
Then you’ll be at the Circus’ Christmas party in Tinker Tailor singing something like the old Soviet national anthem.
You can cook to this music. I did. Breakfast. (Pancakes) But a bunch of Russians from an old movie may suddenly dance in your kitchen.
Oh, it’s not flawless. The album drags a bit in the middle as if it’s running out of ideas and energy, starting to repeat, but then there’s a new surge of energy.
“Adrian’s Leap” leaps to a bit of rock.
“The Blue Sky of Your Eyes” brings bluegrass into play and shows that Delta harmonica has the same musical roots, a connection not often made.
“Kecapi Rain” is maybe the most beautiful piece on the album. Soft rain falls. It’s warm.
Strings and pipes. A flute? I don’t know. I get confused and stop trying to pick out everything.
Let the soft warm rain fall.
* * * * * * * *
To read more posts, reviews and columns by Brian Arsenault click HERE.