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Album Review: Various artists – The Music is You: A Tribute to John Denver

 
By on Wednesday, 27th March 2013 at 2:17 pm
 

I grew up rural. I recently had to admit that. I have no idea why it took me so long to admit it, but I did. The evidence was there all along – my town had no gas stations or stop lights, a whiff of fresh cow manure and straw made me think of ice cream (we went to the farm to get our ice cream…) and my school was a conglomerate of eight towns. I think it was because I lived “on the town square” that I could maintain the notion that I wasn’t a country girl. Gee, the simple fact that we *had* a town square should have been a tip-off!

As a part of any good non-urban family, I grew up listening to John Denver with my parents. We didn’t live in the West Virginia of ‘Take Me Home Country Roads’, but my part of Pennsylvania was still the same kind of coal country found there. And John Denver wasn’t the kind of ‘country’ music that I professed not to like. So I looked with interested at the new John Denver tribute project ‘The Music is You’.

I’ll be honest, the first listen didn’t leave a favorable impression with me. It all sounds so foreign to the simple lilt of Denver’s music. But after a couple of listens I relented a little. Wasn’t the point of a tribute album to put your own personal twist on an artist, not to sound like them? The other interesting thing was that I was familiar with every single contributing artist except Kathleen Edwards, a Canadian songstress who was completely not on my radar at all. There were even a couple of tracks that maintained a familiar take on the tune as well, like ‘Sunshine on My Shoulder’ and ‘Back Home Again’. My favorite track on the album was covered by Northern California’s Brent Dennen and Belgian singer Milow. ‘Annie’s Song’ was treated very much like JD’s original version, but with the added joy of a ukulele.

What song would I have liked to have been included? ‘Calypso’ is a very non-country roads/tall mountains kind of tune, but I loved that one. And the song that made me smile the most? ‘The Eagle and the Hawk’ not because of Blind Pilot but because of the intensely powerful memory it elicits of my sisters spontaneously breaking out in this song at Bandolier National Monument in Los Alamos, New Mexico on our very last ‘family trip’ before us three girls got married. “I am the eagle, I live in high country / in rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky”, I can hear it still.

I now live outside of Washington, DC, a big city. Do I like it? Yeah, I do. Am I a country girl who wants to be taken back to those roads? No, I really don’t. I’ll still listen to some old John Denver and smile, but keep me close to the music clubs I haunt now and I’ll be much happier. I am *not* rural anymore.

7.5/10

‘The Music is You: A Tribute to John Denver’ will be released on 1 April on Sony Music CMG in the UK and 2 April on ATO Records everywhere else. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Wilderness Society in Denver’s name. You can get a first listen to this album on NPR here.

 

Kathleen Edwards / February 2012 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 9th December 2011 at 9:00 am
 

Kathleen Edwards, now famous for her collaboration and touring with Bon Iver, will be going on tour herself in February in the UK. The tour will call at Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London, and tickets are available now.

‘Change the Sheets’ is Edwards’ next single, which will be released on the 6th of February. Watch the promo video for it below. Her new album, ‘Voyageur’, will be released on the 16th of January on Rounder Records. (If you were wondering, it was produced by Edwards herself and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. No brainer there.)

Friday 24th February 2012 – Glasgow Oran Mor
Sunday 26th February 2012 – Manchester Ruby Lounge
Monday 27th February 2012 – Birmingham Glee Club
Tuesday 28th February 2012 – London Islington Academy

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdTF_M-h1J4[/youtube]

 

Single Review: Kathleen Edwards (featuring Bon Iver) – Wapusk

 
By on Thursday, 29th September 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

Justin Vernon is a busy man these days. When he’s not working on his main project, Bon Iver, he can be found humbly stood to the side of the stage with one Kanye West or forming collaborations with James Blake. It seems you can’t avoid his sublime tones, whatever genre you prefer.

Due to his newfound status as an icon to the musical masses, it’s nice to see he’s still rooted to music at its heart as he’s now featuring on Kathleen Edwards’ new single ‘Wapusk’. The Ottawa-based singer/songwriter’s voice takes the lead role in this song, leaving Vernon in the background as her backing singer as her gorgeous sounds resonate through the track. It’s the perfect Autumn track, welcoming in the chill whilst warming you to the core at the same time.

I’m certain that to feel the complete benefit of it, I’ll need a hot chocolate and for the winter winds to be brushing against my windows, but coming in from what will inevitably be a blustery and chilling evening to see her open for Bon Iver in November will have to do for now.

8/10

‘Wapusk’, the new single by Kathleen Edwards, is out on the 17th of October on Zoë/Rounder Records. Keep an eye out for her album in the new year.

 

Bon Iver / October and November 2011 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 28th September 2011 at 5:30 pm
 

Bon Iver will be taking their new album – weirdly titled ‘Bon Iver’ – out with them on the road this October and November. Support will come from Canadian singer/songwriter Kathleen Edwards, who recently collaborated with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon in a single to be released in mid-October (the single review from Braden will post midday tomorrow).

Wednesday 19th October 2011 – Manchester O2 Apollo
Saturday 22nd October 2011 – Edinburgh Usher Hall
Monday 24th October 2011 – London Hammersmith Apollo
Wednesday 9th November 2011 – Birmingham O2 Academy
Thursday 10th November 2011 – Leeds O2 Academy
Friday 11th November 2011 – Bristol Colston Hall

 
 
 

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