ripped open my heart as a butterfly goes free from the jar
out into an edible distance
we ride like there is no too far – “Sycamore”
I’ve heard a lot of “world music” in my day. Too much, I would say. The one common thread between all of them is that even though they might incorporate elements of a few cultures, they’re almost always centered in one mainstay.
Songs Of Water‘s latest release, The Sea Has Spoken, thus far has surpassed that expectation for me. I started listening to this album expecting the typical Arabic and African percussion material that’s rampant throughout “world music”. And, while those elements are unmistakeably there, they skillfully have been incorporated in a way that only serves to strengthen the album as a whole, and not become the mainstay of the project.
The bluegrass/Appalachian/newgrass influences, however, are one thing that cannot be ignored on this album. The Skaggs pedigree undoubtedly shines on tracks like “The Family Tree” (especially with the Ricky Skaggs fiddle/banjo contribution), but I’d be remiss to not mention Stephen Roach’s killer dulcimer playing on “Everything Rises” (among others). Roach also happens to be the talent providing the lead vocals on “Sycamore” and “Willow”.
Recently, there’s been a upsurgance (yes, I totally just made that word up) of indie bands with heavy Eastern European, Balkain, and Gypsy influences (DeVotchka, Beirut). While it’s a fun and interesting sound, an entire album’s worth just gets old. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the style as a whole. However, “Bread and Circus” really surprised me in that regard. What starts out as a melancholy, almost epic-movie-soundtrack type of song slowly builds into a darkly comedic, upbeat, well,….circus tune. It’s morphed into something that would fit right into a episode of Carnivale, before retreating back to the the previous theme.
“Sycamore” is probably my most favorite track off of this disc. It’s a laid-back groove, saturated with Jason Windsor’s baritone guitar playing. It’s really reminiscent of something Nevada desert troubadouresque, like Chris Isaak. Stephen Roach lends a great lead vocal to this track; a bit whispery with a hint of delicateness. It’s a perfect recipe for a song about longing.
No matter what your flavor of folk or world music, I think you’ll probably find something on the new Songs Of Water disc that you’ll like. I know that I certainly did. Take the next step and check out Songs Of Water on MySpace or at the iTunes store if you’re looking to purchase some music. If you prefer a real CD, you can purchase those directly from the website at www.SongsOfWater.com
Meanwhile, check out “Sycamore”, one of the tracks from The Sea Has Spoken.
Songs Of Water – Sycamore: