The Galaxy – You don’t have to have words to sing!

Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros (Image by planetschwa via Flickr)

What a combo I have this week: new material that comes from a live recording!  In this instance, the new material is Sigur Ros‘ recent cd/dvd release Inni, issued last fall.  Sigur Ros has earned their reputation as an excellent live band, and their live experience translates well to live recordings, as has been evidenced by their previous live video release.  We have been long-time fans of Sigur Ros here on the Galaxy, and I am pleased that they have put out a live album that captures some of the beauty that one sees in their concerts (regrettably, I’ve been forced to miss several shows that they have played in St. Louis, so I unfortunately have yet to actually see them).  We heard a lovely set that included Svefn-g-englar, Glósóli, Ný batterí, Fljótavík, Við spilum endalaust, and ending with Hoppípolla.

Rachel Harrington

Rachel Harrington

I’ve been listening to a lot of bluegrass lately.  Actually, I’ve been playing quite a bit of it on my bass as of late (resulting from a 6 hour jam session I participated while in Florida over the Christmas vacation).  So it feels quite appropriate to play some this evening.  We started with a pair of nice songs from IIIrd Tyme Out, from 1993: I’m Working On The Road to Gloryland (with Earl Scruggs guesting) and He’ll Take You In.  Then we heard some nice harmony singing from Kentucky Blue, with Joshua (from 1997’s Eighteen Years Ago), and also a great song from Dale Ann Bradley, Steady as a Rock (from her 1999 album Southern Porches).  We then heard two songs from Rachel Harrington, from 2007’s The Bootlegger’s Daughter: Sunshine Girl, and then a lovely rendition of the gospel classic Farther Along.  Rachel Harrington is an artist with some promise, and we shall look forward to hearing more from her in the future.  We then concluded the set with Alison Krauss and Union Station‘s My Poor Old Heart, from 2004’s Lonely Runs Both Ways.

As it so happens, I have several recent releases to feature on the show this evening.  The second item up for our perusal is the recent offering from August Burns Red, Leveler.  We started with the title track, then heard a nice piece, Meridian, from their previous album Constellations.  From the new album, we heard Internal Cannon (which features a rather interesting flamenco instrumental break).  From Constellations, we heard White Washed, then we heard Pangaea from the new album.  After a station break, I played two extra cuts from the extended edition of Leveler, instrumental renditions of two songs, Internal Cannon (done as a Spanish guitar instrumental), and a performance of their Boys of Fall by their friend Zachary Veilleux, which takes the form of a classical piano piece.

Album cover for Coltrane's Africa/Brass album

We closed out the show with an excellent bit of John Coltrane, the title track from his Africa/Brass album (with the jazz orchestra conducted by Eric Dolphy).  The orchestra is interesting, as it not only featured Coltrane’s usual quartet (McCoy Tyner, Reggie Workman and Elvin Jones), but some other notable names pitching in: musicians such as Booker Little, Pat Patrick (of Sun Ra’s organization), Art Davis doubling on bass, Bill Barber (of the Birth of the Cool sessions) on tuba, in addition to Dolphy’s own instrumental participation.  Freddie Hubbard also participated in the session, playing on another one of the songs but not on Africa. All of this makes for one of Coltrane’s most distinctive albums.

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