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.
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more