|Niagara (2 CD)|
John Southworth — Niagara
■ Zvedněte svět, jako by to bylo pírko — publikum zmizelo, takže zamčení jsme teď v jeho písních. Projekt, který se věnuje konceptu domova a prozkoumání jeho definice. John znamená v hudbě Kanady to, co Guy Maddin ve filmu. Maddin CM OM byl jmenován do Řádu Kanady, což je nejvyšší civilní honorace země (2012). Na tomto dvojalbu působí také Andrew Downing, Jean Martin a Justin Haynes, kteří hrají na albu Human Cry. Mám si vybrat jednu z 9+11 písní a vyzvednout ji na svůj skromný piedestal? Pak je to „Womb Of Time“. John Southworth’s Niagara is is part waking dream, part paperback novel, all poured easily behind a thrumming band and Southworth’s vocal honey~slides. John Southworth (which is undoubtedly his stage moniker taken from the saint of that name) has music in his blood.
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Album release: September 29, 2014
Record Label: Tin Angel Records
Duration: 37:49 + 42:33 => 80:22
01 Niagara Falls Is Not Niagara Falls 3:46
02 Fiddler Crossed the Border 4:53
03 The Horse That Swam Across the Sea 3:01
04 Ode to the Morning Sky 3:56
05 Folk Art Cathedral 4:03
06 Butterfly Shadow 4:52
07 Women Are Disappearing 3:30
08 Irish Tree Alphabet 4:30
09 Where the Mountain Makes the Clouds 5:18
01 Hey I Got News for You 4:31
02 Weird Woman 4:28
03 If It Doesn’t Please the Gods 2:46
04 Pretty Angel Girl 3:42
05 Poor Boy from Buffalo 3:52
06 Womb of Time 3:58
07 Halloween Election 3:20
08 A Day in the Forest 2:38
09 She Is My Niagara Falls 4:35
10 Help Yourself to Diamonds 4:05
11 Loving You 4:38
■ © — John Southworth
■ © 2014 SOCAN CREDITS:
■ Recorded by Jeremy Darby & Jean Martin at Canterbury Music Company & The Farm, Toronto, Canada
■ Mixed & mastered by Jean Martin
■ All songs written by John Southworth
¦ Cory Bruyea Photography
¦ Craig Harley Fender Rhodes, Piano, Wurlitzer
¦ Jeremy Darby Engineer
¦ Michael Davidson Marimba, Vibraphone
¦ Andrew Downing Bass (Acoustic)
¦ Ryan Driver Synthesizer
¦ Thom Gill Guitar, Organ, Wurlitzer
¦ Justin Haynes Fender Rhodes, Guitar
¦ Rebecca Hennessy Accordion, Trombone, Trumpet
¦ Adam Kinner Sax (Tenor)
¦ Peter Lutek Sax (Baritone)
¦ Jean Martin Drums, Engineer, Mastering, Mixing, Producer
¦ The South Seas Primary Artist
¦ John Southworth Composer, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Producer, Vocals, Wurlitzer
¦ Yesim Tosuner Design, Layout
¦ Felicity Williams Vocals
Review by James Christopher Monger, Score: ■■■■
■ An ambitious double album consisting of a “Canadian” side and an “American” side, mercurial English–Canadian singer/songwriter John Southworth’s Niagara is a triumph of both style and substance, a glowing pastiche of sunset~driven ‘70s soft rock and heady, jazz–tinged chamber pop that invokes names like Scott Walker, Harry Nilsson, Cass McCombs, Jacques Brel, Louis Philippe, Paolo Conte, David Ackles, and Gilbert O’Sullivan. Disarmingly subtle yet flush with enough confectionary touches and left~field presence (not to mention pure craftsmanship) to warrant cult status among smart~pop aficionados, Niagara goes down so easy that most listeners will need more than a few spins to realize how rich of a tonic it is, as Southworth’s seemingly reticent (at first) whisper of a voice and his backing band the South Seas’ economical playing don’t exactly beg for attention, but such love and care are taken that the effect is something akin to being led through a tour of a historical home by the original owner. While there is no overarching narrative, Niagara‘s two volumes dutifully evoke images of their respective mainlands; the Canadian side employs a softer, more wintry and nostalgic quality than its more headstrong (though no less melancholic) stateside counterpart, with most of the standout cuts like “Fiddler Crossed the Border,” “The Horse That Swam Across the Sea,” and “Ode to the Morning Sky” arriving via the side with the better view of the falls. That said, they are essentially two sides of the same coin, and Southworth seems less concerned with fanning any nationalistic flames and more interested in using the region as a backdrop with which to allow his characters to strut and fret their hours upon the stage, which they do with a remarkable amount of stoicism; much more than Shakespeare would ever have allowed.
Artist Biography by Linda Woods
■ John Southworth (which is undoubtedly his stage moniker taken from the saint of that name) has music in his blood. His father, Peter Shelley, was a major figure in the glam scene of 1970s England, and was also the A&R man who brought the world King Crimson. Southworth’s musical personality is very far from the progressive rock and glam rock of his father — he performs a unique brand of pop that transcends both time and space, bringing together influences as wide~ranging as Lou Reed, Burt Bacharach, and Bertolt Brecht. His first two albums, 1998’s Mars, Pennsylvania and the 1999 follow~up Sedona, Arizona, contain unique and catchy songs that are a musical travelogue through the history of modern pop. The transplanted Englishman calls Canada home, where he has performed on a regular basis, having also made his mark on such now defunct legendary American venues as CBGB and the Knitting Factory, and also at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where he performed before the opening of the Lou Reed/Robert Wilson pop opera Time Rocker. Southworth stayed busy into the new millennium, regularly releasing albums including Banff Springs Transylvania (2000), Yosemite (2006), Pillowmaker (2007), and Mama Tevatron (2009). In 2011, Southworth released Human Cry, a deeply honest and bittersweet turn toward spacious arrangements and plaintive lyrics. Shortly thereafter in the same year, Southworth offered the curious cassette~only album Spiritual War. Informed by a period of obsession with peasantry and morality, the songs are all similar thematically and all the sounds were recorded directly to a cassette master. Easterween (with Andrew Downing) and Failed Jingles for Bank of America & Other U.S Corporations arrived in 2012, followed by Niagara in 2014. Dubbed Mr. Eclectic, don't expect to hear anything average or ordinary from this truly original artist. ¦ http://www.allmusic.com/ ¦
■ Niagara (2014)
■ Failed Jingles for Bank of America & other U.S Corporations (2012)
■ West Coast Persona (EP 1998 & 2012)
■ Easterween (with Andrew Downing 2012)
■ SPIRITUAL WAR cassette tape (2011)
■ Human Cry (2010)
■ Mama Tevatron (2009)
■ The Pillowmaker (2006)
■ Yosemite (2005)
■ Rose Milk Appalachia (EP 2001)
■ Banff Springs Transylvania (2000)
■ Sedona Arizona (1999)
■ Mars Pennsylvania (1998)
CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/artist/JohnSouthworth1
ART OF TIME ENSEMBLE: http://www.artoftimeensemble.com/
Dave Bidini | December 25, 2014 | Last Updated: Dec 26 12:17 PM ET
PAUL K, NO DEPRESSION
■ “#1 Album of the Year 2014.” — Rolling Stone Germany
■ “Although this is his 9th album it’s his first in the UK, and what a way to begin. A remarkable ‘debut’.” — MOJO
■ “Bathe in the sparse beauty.” — UNCUT
■ “The music is something you simply have to experience.” — Stereogum
■ “Niagara acts as a revelation… the highest art.” — 4.5/5 — Rolling Stone Germany
■ “It’s a gorgeous sound, but there’s an unreal tinge to it… manages to feel familar and comforting and vivid and strange, all at once.” — Pitchfork
■ “It’s dreamy eccentricity; a little crazy and courageous.” — Exclaim
■ “Curiously old~fashioned feeling without seeming overly reminiscent of any particular era.” 4 NNNN’s — NOW Magazine
■ “You can hear the care, the thought, and the savoir~faire put into every song, Southworth is a true craftsman.” 4.5/5 — Westender
■ “It’s a thing of rare and wondrous musical depth and exquisite discernment…full of intoxicating beauty.” — The Afterword
■ “A triumph of both style and substance… disarmingly subtle yet flush with enough confectionary touches and left~field presence (not to mention pure craftsmanship) to warrant cult status among smart~pop aficionados.” — 4.5/5 All Music Guide
■ “Whatever, both sides are stuffed full of songwriting gems with Southworth’s lyrics always interesting, his frail yet arresting vocals captivating and the music wonderfully arranged.” — No Depression
■ “Southworth’s most inspired to date.” — Pittsburgh In Tuneto
By: Nick Krewen, Published on Sat Oct 11 2014
♣ For his latest album Niagara, technically constructed as a double album with a nine~song “Canadian” disc and an 11~song “American” disc, John Southworth has specific instructions as to how it should be heard.
♣ “It’s not meant to be listened to all at once,” explained the Sussex, England~born Southworth one afternoon last weekend over a pint at the Rhino, near his current Parkdale home.
♣ “It’s two records, so I’d be happy if someone ignored one side for a period of time before hearing it. In that sense, it’s almost a book disguised as an album.”
♣ It’s also not surprising that the 42~year~old eclectic songwriter, troubadour, filmmaker and children’s book author prefers people to allot the proper amount of time for his music to sink in. Songs like “Niagara Falls is Not Niagara Falls” and “The Horse that Swam Across the Sea” on the Canadian side, and “Poor Boy from Buffalo” and “Womb of Time” on the American side are generally gentle reveries with slight jazzy overtones, songs that require a deeper listen before the bigger picture is revealed.
Generally, it’s a largely mellow project that dwells on the concept of home, and an attempt to explore its definition.
♣ “I consider Toronto part of Niagara, since it’s just across the lake,” Southworth says. “I thought it would be the great, necessary and moral thing to make a record about where I’ve spent most of my life.”
♣ Southworth will perform plenty of Niagara songs and also dive into his 13~album catalogue when he appears with his longtime band The South Seas at the Music Gallery.
♣ “I feel, more as I get older, a desire to connect in terms of what is home. What feels like home? And I struggle with that, no matter how long I’ve lived here, and I want to know why. These are the songs about it, although not every song covers the topic. But I think I knew I was always going to make a record called Niagara.”
♣ Southworth allows that one prominent Niagara location — those famous falls — has been referenced consistently in his music over the years.
♣ “Niagara Falls, as a place, has appeared in a lyric on almost half of my records,” says Southworth. “Not out of any preconceived plan, but it’s lived in my consciousness for awhile.
♣ “And I see Niagara Falls as a symbol and a metaphor for many things in our world now, especially North America. I envision it 1,000 years ago before anything and I reflect on this natural creation and the way it’s been ignored. It’s a symbol for me on where we’re heading on a spiritual level, or where we’re at as a culture and a civilization.
♣ “And these two little towns (Niagara Falls, Ont. and N.Y.) that have sprung up on either side, divided by a natural wonder, dividing two countries, there’s so much to explore and write about it.”
♣ The topic of separation within such a close proximity fascinates him, one that he translated into the story of two lovers in “Poor Boy from Buffalo.”
♣ “The woman lives in St. Catharines and the man lives in Buffalo, and they have to continue their relationship with this border between them, and usually do so by night,” explains Southworth, who co~wrote two songs with Buck 65 on the Toronto rhymer’s just~released Neverlove.
♣ “I like the idea that there are people living lives very close to each other, but are divided by a natural border. For all of us, we are living very close to our American counterparts, but we have no idea what they’re like, and they have no idea what we’re like.”
♣ It’s also a return of sorts to an earlier Southworth tendency of naming his albums after locations: one that began with his debut, 1998’s Mars, Pennsylvania, and continued on with 1999’s Sedona, Arizona, 2000’s Banff Springs, Transylvania, 2001’s Rose Milk Appalachia EP and 2005’s Yosemite before he felt the practice “was becoming a little too precious.”
♣ Although Southworth views Niagara as “tying my first record and this record together as a whole,” his means of recording and arranging has definitely changed over the years.
♣ “When I started out and I made that first record, I was 23. At that time, I would write and control all the arrangements. But as I’ve grown, I do the opposite now. There’s very little on here that’s pre~arranged. For the last 10 years, I’ve worked with Toronto musicians who have an improv jazz background. Now we play music where anything can happen. When we record studio takes, what you’re hearing is very immediate — they’re learning the songs. If things aren’t happening in three takes, I abandon them.
“In essence, I’ve become more of a jazz musician, although I still have pop sensibilities as a songwriter.” :: http://www.thestar.com/
Daydreams for Night
by David Ouimet, John Southworth
♣ Simply Read Books | February 5, 2015 | Hardcover
♣ Seven very short stories from acclaimed musician John Southworth will tweak your mind and peak your imagination. Meet the boy with grey hair, who spends his days on a cargo ship peeling potatoes, a strange man who keeps a Ferris wheel in his backyard, and a whale that lives in a manmade lake on the top of a faraway hill. Chock~full of details in their brevity, they beg to be mused over. Equally intriguing and unusual black and white illustrations by David Ouimet bright the strange, bizarre characters to life.
♣ Like songs, these stories and the accompanying illustrations are evocative without limiting, and beg to be replayed.