Peter Hammill — Clutch
(Fie! 9127, 2002, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2003-08-01
You can count on the words to be insightful, sometimes bitter, and never trivial. The music always seems to serve the words, not the other way round. With many songwriters, you find lyrics that only seem to exist because they rhyme with the previous line. For me, that’s one of the main things about Hammill’s work. I got over his distinctive voice, and even learned to like it, though I know many who haven’t. Musically, this is one of Hammill’s more sparse outings, confined largely to voice and acoustic guitar, with some string parts courtesy of Stuart Gordon and flute and sax from David Jackson. The lack of electricity leads to no lack of energy or intensity. Hammill tackles his dark subject matter with a ferociousness that’s almost scary. Those subjects range from child molestation (“Just a Child”) to eating disorders (“Skinny”) to religious fanaticism (“This Is the Fall”) to the amazement of a father watching his child grow up (“Once You Called Me”). As always, Hammill treats his issues in personal terms, not delivering platitudes or pronouncements, but describing realistic characters. While all of his solo releases have worthwhile material, this one seems more consistent than some, perhaps due to the instrumentation. But the fact remains: there’s not a dud in this set, and it’s a fine addition to a truly amazing body of work.
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