Monday, June 15, 2009

Record of the Month - Classic

Another installment of a disk I have enjoyed over the years. I'm trying to keep the Record of the Month posts to be fairly new releases. Classics are going to be ones that are at least 5 years old.

I have no idea if any of my readers besides Birdie knows from Great Big Sea. RJ might, - if he still reads this blog. Tornwordo might, since he lives in (but doesn't hail from) Canada. But that might be it.

I became acquainted with them over a decade ago when our cable use to carry MuchMusic. For years, that is where I went to find new music - as it was a real music and music video cable station. Then our service came up with a bastardized version: MuchMusic US - which tired to imitated the already flat-lined MTV Then that disappeared after a few months.

But on the original MM - I came across Great Big Sea playing a festival in their native Newfoundland. I was hooked immediately.

Their playing was tight and upbeat. I can't say their style was original, as it is basically celtic drinking/folk music. The style has been around for a century or two - just hardly done by anyone under 60 playing in a pub somewhere.

Rant and Roar is their first U.S. release - which is basically a collection of their first few Canadian disks. And what a fun collection it is.

The set starts with probably the two most accessible tracks ("Ordinary Day" and "When I'm Up") - which would have been perfect for US radio, but it was not to happen. I guess it's the most accessible they can be with fiddle and penny whistle. I find these two very infectious.

But the next song is my favourite on the disk. "Mari Mac" is a two and one-half minute ditty that is an exercise in vocal theatrics.....and in just out and out breathing techniques for a singer. Any singer. Denton hates it. It drives him up the wall, but I am totally fascinated by it.

I don't think it is any accident that the album sequencing goes right into R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)", as that itself has always been too many words in too short of a time or measure of music.

GBS does slow it down a bit with a number of tunes - "Fast As I Can" and "Something to It". But they have some much more traditional stuff to - "General Taylor", the instrumental "Dancing with Mrs. White" and "The Day Paddy Murphy Died".

I can see where not many would embrace this. It is fun for me - and like it or not, I don't think anyone could deny how talented the guys in the band are.

GBS seemingly tours all the time and have landed in Cleveland a dozen times since we've lived here, but I can't seem to get Denton to go. Oddly enough, my niece came across them on some music I gave her and she really likes them - so maybe I can get her to go with me to see them.

I will say you might not like an entire disk, but you might want to scan iTunes and sample some tracks - and even purchase them.

1 comment:

Birdie said...

I have only their first three CDs: Play, Turn and Up. My current favorite tune is "Feel It Turn." Favorites change as I listen to the CDs over time.