Merchant Marks Release of "Leave Your Sleep" on NPR's "Morning Edition," ABC's "GMA"; BBC Cites Its "Sheer Ravishing Beauty"
Natalie Merchant's Leave Your Sleep is out now. It was featured on NPR's Morning Edition, and Merchant performed songs from it on ABC's Good Morning America. The BBC says that the album's many musical styles are unified by the "sheer ravishing beauty of the arrangements, combined with the tasteful, organic aesthetic." The Irish Times gives it a perfect five stars, saying Merchant "has delivered something special."
Today is release day for Natalie Merchant's Leave Your Sleep, the most ambitious project of her celebrated, 25-year major-label career. She brilliantly adapts the works of such poets as Edward Lear, Ogden Nash, and Robert Graves into a musically kaleidoscopic, two-disc set of new songs. You can take a closer look inside the album's deluxe package in a new photo gallery at nonesuch.com/media and pick up a copy of the CD, with a free download of the album at no additional cost, in the Nonesuch Store.
Leave Your Sleep was the subject of a feature on the latest episode of NPR's Morning Edition. Merchant spoke with host Renée Montagne about the project, the poets whose works are featured on it, and one very special source of inspiration behind it: her daughter.
Says Montagne: "The range of emotions covered on Leave Your Sleep fits Merchant's overall goal for the record. While it's overtly about motherhood and childhood, Merchant says she views the two experiences as a good means through which to examine life as a whole."
Listen to the complete segment at npr.org.
In celebration of the album's release, Merchant performed the first of two consecutive nights at the New York Society for Ethical Culture's Concert Hall last night and was performing live again early this morning on ABC's Good Morning America. She spoke with host Robin Roberts about the project and performed the album tracks "Calico Pie." Both are available now at abcnews.go.com; you can watch the interview online here and watch the performance here. You can also hear "Calico Pie" on Nonesuch Radio.
In the UK, where the album released yesterday, the BBC suggests the seven years between studio recordings from Merchant were certainly productive ones. On Leave Your Sleep, says BBC reviewer Andrzej Lukowski, "you can feel the time spent on it, with near enough every track soaked in some distinct, lush musical trapping, be it bluegrass, reggae, warm woodwind, sprightly folk, southern-fried blues and, in the case of 'Bleezer's Ice-Cream,' 1950s-style advertising jingle."
Given that vast array of musical styles Merchant incorporated into the album, "What's astonishing is how cohesive it all is," says Lukowski. "Leave Your Sleep never feels over-extended. The sheer ravishing beauty of the arrangements, combined with the tasteful, organic aesthetic (no synths here), prevents things ever jarring, and Merchant's voice flows constant throughout, supple and hard as silken steel."
Read the complete album review at bbc.co.uk.
The Irish Times gives the album a perfect five stars. Times reviewer Joe Breen echoes Lukowski's sentiment that the time Merchant invested into the project certainly paid off and, indeed, "has delivered something special in both the abridged single album and the double album." Breen concludes that "her marriage of music and texts short-changes neither, while the vibrant and imaginative arrangements underpin Merchant's sensitive and utterly beguiling voice."
Read more at irishtimes.com.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jonathan Takiff says Merchant "travels interesting new paths" on Leave Your Sleep. "Note how Natalie dresses them in a variety of sonic garbs, from the New Orleans jazz of 'Bleezer's Ice-Cream' to the reggae-toned 'Topsyturvey-World,' with stellar backing by the likes of the Wynton Marsalis Quartet; Lunasa; Medeski, Martin & Wood; and the Klezmatics." You'll find that review at philly.com.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017Wednesday, January 18, 2017Conor Oberst's Album "Salutations" Due March 17; Full-Band Recordings with The Felice Brothers, Jim Keltner, Special Guests
Conor Oberst's album Salutations, a companion piece to 2016's lauded Ruminations, is due March 17. Salutations comprises full-band versions of the ten songs from that solo album plus seven additional songs. It was recorded at the famed Shangri-la Studios in Malibu and Five Star Studios in Echo Park with The Felice Brothers and the legendary drummer Jim Keltner, who co-produced the album. Guest performers include Jim James, Blake Mills, Maria Taylor, M Ward, Gillian Welch, and Jonathan Wilson. Nonesuch Store pre-orders include instant downloads of "A Little Uncanny," "Tachycardia," and "Napalm."
Friday, December 16, 2016Friday, December 16, 2016
The Randy Newman Songbook is now available in a three-CD box set, following its recent release on vinyl. The Songbook series—comprising solo recordings of songs from throughout Newman's five-decade career—previously included two volumes, released on CD in 2003 and 2011. Sixteen additional songs from a newly released third volume, along with five bonus tracks, join those first two volumes to create this new complete Songbook box set. Mitchell Froom produced The Randy Newman Songbook, Vol. 1 (which has been remastered for this box set) and was joined on Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 by Newman's lifelong friend and colleague Lenny Waronker.