Skip directly to content
journal

On "Leave Your Sleep," Natalie Merchant Creates "Ideal Fit Between Poetic and Musical Rhythms," Says Wall Street Journal

  • Wednesday, June 16, 2010
    On "Leave Your Sleep," Natalie Merchant Creates "Ideal Fit Between Poetic and Musical Rhythms," Says Wall Street Journal

    As noted last week in the Nonesuch Journal, Natalie Merchant offered an intimate performance of songs from her recent Nonesuch debut album, Leave Your Sleep, for attendees of the 2010 Poetry Conference at Pennsylvania's West Chester University on Saturday. It was the culminating event of the conference. The Wall Street Journal's Earle Hitchner reports that "poets, scholars and other enthusiasts reveling in rhyme, meter and narrative in verse were lined up like smitten rock fans waiting for Natalie Merchant to sign copies of her new, deluxe-edition, double-disc recording, Leave Your Sleep."

    In the Wall Street Journal article, Hitchner examines the new album and how well-suited its songs were for the Poetry Conference, given that she used the work of poets like Edward Lear, Ogden Nash, and Robert Graves as their lyrics. Dana Gioa, the co-founder of the Conference and former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, who had recently described the album to the Philadelphia Inquirer as "unprecedented," tells Hitchner that Merchant "has done something important and innovative ... She has created something akin to pop art song and re-created the link between song and poetry."

    For his part, Hitchner says that the songs on Leave Your Sleep "often reveal an ideal fit between poetic and musical rhythms," citing these examples

    For Albert Bigelow Paine's "The Dancing Bear," Ms. Merchant provided an irresistibly danceable klezmer beat propelled by the Klezmatics. For Jack Prelutsky's "Bleezer's Ice-Cream," the spoken savor of the flavors found in Ebenezer Bleezer's freezer ... would excite even Ben & Jerry's well-tested taste buds. To that delicious churn of words, Ms. Merchant added an enticing mix of New Orleans jazz from trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and gospel harmony from the Fairfield Four. And for Edward Lear's "Calico Pie," she brought in Richard Stearns on banjo and Judy Hyman on fiddle to give the song an Appalachian old-timey texture."

    The article goes on to gives some idea of what's to come in Merchant's summer tour of the United States, which begins on July 12. You'll find the tour schedule at nonesuch.com/on-tour and can read the complete Wall Street Journal article at wsj.com.

on June 16, 2010 - 3:59pm
Excerpt: 

Natalie Merchant offered an intimate performance at the 2010 Poetry Conference at West Chester University on Saturday. The Wall Street Journal reports that "poets, scholars and other enthusiasts reveling in rhyme, meter and narrative in verse were lined up like smitten rock fans waiting for Natalie Merchant to sign copies of her new, deluxe-edition, double-disc recording, Leave Your Sleep." The songs on album, says the Journal, "reveal an ideal fit between poetic and musical rhythms."

Copy: 

As noted last week in the Nonesuch Journal, Natalie Merchant offered an intimate performance of songs from her recent Nonesuch debut album, Leave Your Sleep, for attendees of the 2010 Poetry Conference at Pennsylvania's West Chester University on Saturday. It was the culminating event of the conference. The Wall Street Journal's Earle Hitchner reports that "poets, scholars and other enthusiasts reveling in rhyme, meter and narrative in verse were lined up like smitten rock fans waiting for Natalie Merchant to sign copies of her new, deluxe-edition, double-disc recording, Leave Your Sleep."

In the Wall Street Journal article, Hitchner examines the new album and how well-suited its songs were for the Poetry Conference, given that she used the work of poets like Edward Lear, Ogden Nash, and Robert Graves as their lyrics. Dana Gioa, the co-founder of the Conference and former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, who had recently described the album to the Philadelphia Inquirer as "unprecedented," tells Hitchner that Merchant "has done something important and innovative ... She has created something akin to pop art song and re-created the link between song and poetry."

For his part, Hitchner says that the songs on Leave Your Sleep "often reveal an ideal fit between poetic and musical rhythms," citing these examples

For Albert Bigelow Paine's "The Dancing Bear," Ms. Merchant provided an irresistibly danceable klezmer beat propelled by the Klezmatics. For Jack Prelutsky's "Bleezer's Ice-Cream," the spoken savor of the flavors found in Ebenezer Bleezer's freezer ... would excite even Ben & Jerry's well-tested taste buds. To that delicious churn of words, Ms. Merchant added an enticing mix of New Orleans jazz from trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and gospel harmony from the Fairfield Four. And for Edward Lear's "Calico Pie," she brought in Richard Stearns on banjo and Judy Hyman on fiddle to give the song an Appalachian old-timey texture."

The article goes on to gives some idea of what's to come in Merchant's summer tour of the United States, which begins on July 12. You'll find the tour schedule at nonesuch.com/on-tour and can read the complete Wall Street Journal article at wsj.com.

Publish date: 
Wednesday, June 16, 2010 - 13:00
Article Type: 
featuredimage: 
Natalie Merchant: "Leave Your Sleep" [cover]

Post new comment