Cathedral & Rum — American Gothic
((Not on label) no#, 2010, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2007-03-01
The follow up to Cathedral & Rum’s 2000 debut finds Chris Hartford and friends on familiar ground. The dreamy, country and western tinged alternative pop sound is intact, all wrapped around Hartford’s languid and yearning drawl and acoustic guitar. It’s not hard to see that he’s an exceptional singer and songwriter, and every piece on the album has much to offer. Lyrically Hartford is simply superb. He again seems to be taking on topics and places personal to his experience (he resides in San Diego) with titles like “City of Ice,” “Lullaby on a St. Charles St.” and “Glass Bottom Town.” Besides a stronger country vibe to this collection, Hartford has chosen to augment nearly every song with instrumental enhancements that include accordion, flute, strings, and sax. Backing vocalists Jean Jenkinson and Sierra Hart harmonize wonderfully with Hartford with an effect not unlike Dwight Yoakam paired with Emmylou Harris. Less effective are occasional psych effects mainly supplied by Stick player Colin Jenkinson. Like the previous album, I find some of the Stick work inappropriate to the warm and intimate vibe that runs through the songs. Still, the occasionally off-kilter elements, like mixing some of the instruments slightly out of sync or the inclusion of sound effects that lay just above the aural threshold, work to reinforce the sense of weary melancholy inhabiting the album. It’s another very strong collection and I wonder when Hartford will finally be noticed and given a bigger stage to present his songs.
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more