|Jeffrey Foucault & Mark Erelli — Seven Curses (2010)|
Jeffrey Foucault & Mark Erelli ≡ Seven Curses
Location: Western Massachusetts (JF); Reading, MA (ME), USA
Album release: April 27, 2010
Record Label: Indie Europe/Zoom
01 Philadelphia Lawyer (Woody Guthrie) 4:07
02 Johnny 99 (Bruce Springsteen) 3:13
03 Tom Merritt (Richard Buckner Edgar Lee Masters) 3:01
04 Billy Gray (Norman Blake) 4:30
05 Louise (Paul Siebel) 4:08
06 Pretty Polly (Traditional) 4:16
07 Sonora's Death Row (Blackie Farrell) 4:10
08 Ellis Unit 1 (Steve Earle) 4:59
09 Cole Durhew (Tom House) 4:05
10 The First Mrs. Jones (Porter Wagoner) 3:07
11 Powderfinger (Neil Young) 4:22
12 Wyoming Wind (Mark Erelli) 4:11
♦ THE NEW YORKER: “Jeffrey Foucault, sings stark, literate songs that are as wide open as the landscape of his native Midwest.”
♦ THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Jeffrey Foucault is a young man with an old soul… contemporary and timeless.”
♦ MOJO: ”Songwriting brilliance.”
♦ THE IRISH TIMES: ”Quietly brilliant.”
♦ UNCUT MAGAZINE (UK): “The music of Wisconsin native Foucault is the kind so many aspire to but never attain: beat-up troubadour folk whittled to dolorous perfection...”
♦ On Seven Curses the American songwriters Mark Erelli and Jeffrey Foucault match an elemental approach with the elemental subjects: love and death. Under the banner of the Murder Ballad, Foucault and Erelli execute uncanny harmony arrangements with a list of songs that decidedly expands the genre: Blackie Farrell’s dusty cowboy ballad ‘Sonora’s Death Row’ brushes shoulders with Neil Young’s mystical narrative ‘Powderfinger’; Porter Wagoner’s darkly comic ‘The First Mrs. Jones’ makes a stark contrast to the bleak beauty of Paul Siebel’s ‘Louise’. Jaunty and doomed, the characters in these songs inhabit a world where everything hinges on a single irretrievable act, and a reckoning looms. ♦♠♣♥
♦ Critically acclaimed veterans of the Americana circuit in the United States, each having made a series of well-received solo albums, Erelli and Foucault team up for the first time on Seven Curses and the result is by turns rollicking and chilling, raw and poignant, a timeless interpretation of a classic American genre.
The Mighty Albert:
♦ A few years ago Jeffrey sat down with longtime friend Mark Erelli to record a collection of murder ballads. The result - two nights, two chairs, a dozen stories, and a handful of old guitars - matched an elemental approach to the elemental subjects, love and death.
♦ Starkly recorded, with a list of songs that includes Blackie Farrell’s dusty cowboy ballad ‘Sonora’s Death Row’, Neil Young’s mystical narrative ‘Powderfinger’, Porter Wagoner’s darkly comic ‘The First Mrs. Jones’, and Paul Siebel’s aching classic ‘Louise’, Seven Curses is raucous and chilling, raw and poignant, an expansive interpretation of a classic American genre.
Biography Mark Erelli by Linda Seida
♦ Americana singer/songwriter Mark Erelli made a nice splash when he appeared on the music scene in 1999 with an eponymous debut from Signature Sounds. Critics from Billboard to the Boston Herald sang the musician's praises, and the Kerrville New Folk Contest named him top dog in its competition. Erelli followed up two years later with the album Compass & Companion, drawing more accolades as well as a pair of nominations from the Boston Music Awards. Kelly Willis appeared on the album, singing with Erelli on the title song. Erelli supported the new release with numerous shows and festival appearances across the U.S., including Alaska. He also has shared the stage with such like-minded artists as Gillian Welch, Dave Alvin, Buddy and Julie Miller, and John Hiatt.
♦ Erelli went on to release The Memorial Hall Recordings in 2002, an album of original material and traditional tunes that he recorded in a Civil War-era hall in Massachusetts. Recording sessions were wrapped up in less than a week without the aid of overdubs or other modern enhancements. Hillbilly Pilgrim arrived in 2004, and Hope & Other Casualties followed two years ago. The latter album featured a cover of Ron Sexsmith's "God Loves Everyone" as well as instrumental contributions from producer Lorne Entress, who played seven instruments; Erelli played the remaining 11. After touring in support of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's "Soul 2 Soul" tour, Erelli returned to the studio for Delivered, his seventh album for the Signature Sounds label. Discography:
- Mark Erelli (1999)
- Compass & Companion (2001)
- The Memorial Hall Recordings (2002)
- Hillbilly Pilgrim (2004)
- Hope & Other Casualties (2006)
- Innocent When You Dream (2006)
- Delivered (2008)
- Little Vigils (2010)
- Seven Curses (2010) - with Jeffrey Foucault
Biography Jeffrey Foucault by Rovi
♦ Born in Whitewater, Wisconsin, USA. Singer-songwriter Foucault studied history at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, during which time he began performing on the local coffee house circuit. Inspired by artists such as Greg Brown, John Prine and Chris Smither, Foucault immersed himself in the roots music of his country, drawing on blues, folk and country on his impressive debut, Miles From The Lightning. The album, warmly received by the roots rock community, was self-released in 2001. The critics were particularly impressed by the narrative drive of Foucault’s material, augmented by sensitive backing from fellow songwriters Peter Mulvey and Mark Olson. The final track, ‘Miles From The Lightning’, was dedicated to Townes Van Zandt, a performer with whom Foucault was being regularly compared. Next was a loose-knit project teaming Foucault with fellow songwriters Mulvey and Kris Delmhorst. In 2003, the trio released an endearing, self-titled album as Redbird on the Signature Sounds label. Delmhorst and Mulvey returned to help out on the superb 2004 release Stripping Cane, which also featured Redbird multi-instrumentalist David Goodrich. Official website for the Cold Satellite album:http://www.coldsatellite.com/. Discography:
- 2001 – Miles from the Lightning
- 2003 – Redbird (with Peter Mulvey and Kris Delmhorst)
- 2004 – Stripping Cane
- 2006 – Ghost Repeater
- 2009 - Shoot the Moon Right Between the Eyes: Jeffrey Foucault Sings the Songs of John Prine
- 2010 - Seven Curses (with Mark Erelli)
- 2010 - Cold Satellite
- 2011 - Horse Latitudes
♦ Long time friends and collaborators, Mark & Jeff have put together a fantastically atmospheric and beautifully recorded collection of American songs that can all be classed as murder ballads.
♦ ‘Seven Curses’ feel like a natural extension of Jeff’s solo album ‘Shoot the Moon’ in that it’s recorded almost live, and dripping in atmosphere, and it’s that presence that makes this an immediately arresting disc .
♦ These 12 songs are from a host of classic American writers ranging from Woody Guthrie, Springsteen, and Neil Young through to Porter Wagoner – and they’re all given a superb work-over by Erelli & Foucault with a simple but deceptively rich mixture of acoustic and electric guitars, slide guitar, harmonica and mandolin.
♦ They’re both distinct voices on the singer/songwriter scene, here they share the lead vocals across the disc and have a unique harmony style that is full of unusual arrangements but that always works and suits the song.
For an album full of songs of love, and inevitably, death, the album is not quite a downbeat as you might imagine, Springsteen’s ‘Johnny 99’ is a real rocker, Wagoner’s ‘The First Mrs Jones’ is comically dark, and ‘Sonora’s Death Row’ is a classic contemporary Western ballad and a masterpiece of songwriting in any genre, presented by Jeff and Mark here it feels a little darker than other versions.
♦ Recorded over two nights, this is a fairly raw disc, but it’s presented by two of the strongest contemporary artists around – both great vocalists and musicians, ‘Seven Curses’ shows the power of their performing and interpretation and is destined to be a classic in the genre. Unmissable.
♦ Jeffrey Foucault and long time friend Mark Erelli have murder in their heart. And in their latest collaborative album.
So I felt I had to post this because it was like I was meant to, I basically had to. I don’t normally hear too much from either artist despite being a big fan of Foucault and slightly more than average fan of Erelli. Then, last weekend I get an email from fellow blogger Laura at You Crazy Dreamers to check out a b-side/demo from Foucault (listen: “Geese Fly By“). I realize later that she was getting ready to see the show last week out in Chicago that ended up being her favourite concert this year. And she has seen more than a few so far. She purchased the Seven Curses album and immediately sent it over to me and I have been playing non-stop…well, lots.
♦ Then I notice on one of my regular reads, Cover Lay Down, that this album gets a mention album gets a mention as essentially the album is a collection of murder ballad covers – hence the mention on Cover Lay Down. Okay this is getting weird, so I decide in order to get my aura clean I had to post on the album and here we are.
So basically, I really like the album – but people, you have to be ready for the (alt) country in you to be represented. The album could be considered a country album if this was 10 years ago, so now a days I would call it folk-country or so. Both Erelli and Foucault are singer-songwriter/troubadours in the full sense of the word – these two would feel just as comfortable in a whiskey soaked stage at midnight just as easily in the back woods of Colorado when singing to whomever is around. The covers range from the full on country version of Woody Guthrie (Philadelphia Lawyer) to the honky tonk version of Bruce Springsteen (Johnny 99) to a mellowed out Steve Earle (Ellis Unit 1) and the below version of Richard Buckner’s version of a Edgar Lee Masters Poem called Tom Merritt (from what I can tell). Essentially, this is a great country cover album that possibly gets a bit too country for me at times, but it always pulls itself back with a stunning track that keeps me listening. Recommended. // “Tom Merritt” - Jeffrey Foucault & Mark Erelli, from 2010′s “Seven Curses”
(you can also visit Foucault’s site for 2 more tracks, here)
|Jeffrey Foucault & Mark Erelli — Seven Curses (2010)|