A Modern Day Classic That Weaves a Colourful Tapestry of Emotions.
When I received this CD last week the name Joy Williams was familiar; but I couldn’t quite place a face to the name, so it’s sat in the pile on the desk waiting for an opportunity to go into the office CD player. Time has been of the essence, so it wasn’t until today when I was heading for the hills to clear my head, that it went into the car alongside two others I felt could be worth a listen.
Suffice to say the other two are still unheard and I’ve rushed home to write about Joy Williams’ second solo release ………. since leaving the Civil Wars.
Of course that’s where I knew her name from and it only took thirty seconds of opening track Canary for the penny to drop.
What a way to start a new record; haunting, ethereal and crystal clear production all combine with some really imaginative lyrics to not just pull at your heartstrings but stir your Soul too.
In theory this type of music shouldn’t be the perfect accompaniment for a car journey; but songs like When Does a Heart Move On and Hotel St. Cecelia felt like old friends giving me a hug; although they were actually strangers meeting me for the first time.
For an acoustic album that errs on the side of American Folk with an acoustic Country edge there’s not just a lot going on the words of each song; but the emotions that they create defy the simplicity of Kenneth Patengale’s production.
Several songs here are quite stunning; and even breathtaking the first time that you hear them (occasionally the second and third time too) with The Trouble With Wanting and When Creation Was Young both sounding like I will need to sit with my headphones on to get the very best out of them, as they are sure to unravel even more as time dictates.
First and foremost you will be swept away by Joy William’s pearlescent voice, which when she reaches for the high notes doesn’t as much ‘hit them’ as catch them and caress them into submission …… which I’ve only ever heard opera singers do before.
Being as contrary as I am, I try to avoid title tracks or singles as my Favourite Song; but here you can’t get past Front Porch as the one and only Favourite as it will just sweep you away as it has me (I repeated it 7 times at one stage; like a lovesick teenager!). It’s one of those songs that will mean something different to everyone who hears it; and they won’t all be wrong; just not necessarily correct with their personal interpretation ….. that’s how great a song it is.
The album is neatly tied up with the short and sweet closing song Look How Far We’ve Come; which is the nearest to a Country song that’s here and even then it has a gorgeous Gospel edge to it if you listen carefully.
I’m a ‘man of a certain age’ and I ‘get it’, in the exact same way that I ‘got’ Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’ and Carole King’s ‘Tapestry’ nearly half a century ago; and it’s no stretch of the imagination to compare this album to those two Classics in my opinion; but what I fear is that there could/will be a lot of pretentious twaddle in reviews by the hard-line Feminist Movement when they hear Front Porch.
Yep; there is a definite femininity to each song here and pulled together they create an album that women of all ages will love and cherish and try to decipher; but trust me…….. music loving men will cherish these songs just as much.