A couple of CD's that are burning up my iPod over the last week or two.
I bought the previous album from The Decemberists, Picaresque, and liked it. Didn't love it, but liked it. When I heard their new CD was out I wasn't terribly interested. But when review after positive review kept coming in I thought it might be worth a try. When Best Buy put it out for $7.99 I couldn't resist. I'm glad I gave in. It offers an array of interesting sounds and quirky folksy melodies. I really like this CD.
Given the band's graduation from minor to major leagues, The Crane Wife may prove to be the most crucial record the Decemberists will release in their lifetime. Fortunately, their fourth album further magnifies and refines their strengths. Winsomely balancing frivolity and gravity, the Decemberists assemble an oddball menagerie of the usual rogues and rascals, soldiers and criminals, lovers and baby butchers-- but they've got a lot more tricks up their sleeves than previous albums had hinted. The Crane Wife employs an impressive variety of styles and sounds to tell Meloy's imaginative stories: There's the band's usual folk-rock, honed to an incisively sharp point, but they also deploy a smuggler's blues ("The Perfect Crime"), a creepy lullaby ("Shankill Butchers"), a Led Zep stomp ("When the War Came"), and, perhaps most divisively, a multipart prog track ("The Island") that stretches well past the 10-minute mark.
Someone gave me this CD and I left it sitting on the shelf for a bit. Taking it off and putting it on my iPod was a great move. What a wonderful CD. It is the first volume of songs based on The Voice, "a project to rediscover the story of the Bible as retold by a gifted team of writers, poets, pastors, and storytellers." The folks working on this retelling of Scripture includes Chris Seay, Lauren Winner and Brian McLaren. I'm currently reading some from The Last Eyewitness.
Artists on this CD include Sandra McCracken, Sara Groves, Derek Webb, Robbie Seay Band, Don and Lori Chaffer (of Waterdeep) and others. There are too many great songs to list here. But a few of the best are McCracken's "Call Him Good" and Lori Chaffer's "Please Don't Make Us Sing This Song," which was featured on a video about hurricane Katrina. Highly recommended, beautiful and artistic CD.
Please Don't Make Us Sing This Song, is part of a fifteen-year brainstorm of pastor and author, Chris Seay. Seay has set forth on a quest to reignite the beauty and artistry of the Bible, through working with an integrated team of authors, scholars, artists, musicians, and the like in order to rediscover the story of the Bible. This album is part of that collaboration and stands as a testament to the creativity, heart, and faithfulness of all involved.