Cathedral & Rum — The Moon Is the Lord of Twisted Trees
((Not on label) no#, 2009, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2010-07-01Cathedral & Rum is essentially LA-based singer/songwriter Chris Hartford plus a host of guest musicians, depending on the album or song. Though make no mistake: Hartford is the creative nexus behind C&R. It’s his talent that makes the songs sink or swim, and on this best of collection you get all the Michael Phelpses of his three studio albums. Bong hits are even included via a hazy, slightly psych vibe behind what are essentially country-folk songs. The specters of Dylan, Waits, Chapin, Drake, etc. inhabit Hartford’s songs as he opens his heart and opines about modern life with a lyrical sensibility and maturity that is rare. Songs like “Ocean Light,” “Through the Trees,” and “Caroline” are phenomenal, with sparse instrumentation of piano and gliding guitars married to Hartford’s warm and twangy tenor and strummed acoustic. My favorite arrangements also include Jean Jenkinson on backing vocals, sounding not unlike Emmylou Harris, and when she and Hartford harmonize it’s like a shot of the good stuff. I’m less enamored of arrangements that block up the view with excessive and questionable instrumentation. This is best exemplified by “World Outside,” which includes turntable scratching, trumpet, piano, and a squalling electric guitar. There may be a purpose behind the added sounds, though when you have a talent so strong that voice and acoustic guitar can do it all, why bury it? Fortunately, this is the exception on this album, which is the best introduction to this gifted songwriter that I can imagine.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more