Natalie Merchant

Natalie Merchant

Natalie Merchant
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Natalie Merchant

Natalie Merchant

This self-titled recording is the multi-platinum singer’s sixth solo collection, and her first of entirely original songs in 13 years.

This self-produced album is the work of a mature artist with a clear and distinctive voice. Long appreciated for the depth and substance of her writing, Merchant has never shied away from weighty themes or subjects for her lyrics. She describes the new release as informed “by experience and keen observation,” dealing with issues of “love gained and lost, regret, denial, surrender, greed, destructiveness, defeat, and occasional triumph.”

Combining three decades of experience in song writing and album making, Merchant’s production style is nuanced and pure. Her voice is framed by a balanced blend of electric and acoustic sound throughout with musicianship of exceptional quality. String, brass, and woodwind arrangements mingle with Hammond organ and electric guitar improvisations. Players include John Medeski, Shawn Pelton, Clark Gayton, Uri Sharlin, Jesse Murphy, Erik Della Penna, Gabriel Gordon, and guest vocalists Simi Stone, Elizabeth Mitchell and gospel singer Corliss Stafford.

Track Listing:

 

  1. Ladybird
  2. Maggie Said
  3. Texas
  4. Go Down, Moses
  5. Seven Deadly Sins
  6. Giving Up Everything
  7. Black Sheep
  8. It’s A-Coming
  9. Lulu (Introduction)
  10. Lulu

 

Review

Natalie Merchant’s voice has always had an effect on me: deep and dark, beautiful and fragile, but also capable of great power and strength. It is a voice I have loved since I first heard her front the indie band 10,000 Maniacs in the 1980s. Merchant started her solo career 20 years ago and has drip-fed albums to her fans since, this one being only her fourth recording of original songs in that time (there have also been fabulous collections: The House Carpenter’s Daughter, though now unavailable, is a compilation of traditional American folk songs; and Leave Your Sleep, a double CD concept album of nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and American poems). You can imagine my joy when I received an email a few weeks ago that, finally, Merchant had gotten around to recording an album of new songs – her first in 13 years.

From the first notes I was captivated – her voice retains all that I love about it. Long appreciated for the depth and substance of her songwriting, Merchant remains a passionate social advocate for women’s rights, the environment and minority communities in the USA. Musically, she has been moving against the mainstream since her extremely successful debut album, Tigerlily, sold over 5 million copies. Merchant describes this new album as being informed by ‘experience and keen observation, dealing with issues of love gained and lost, regret, denial, greed, destructiveness, defeat and occasional triumph’. Now, if only she would come back to Australia – her live show is a beautiful thing. In the meantime, we can fall in love with her music all over again.


Dave Clarke is a Music & DVD Specialist at Readings Carlton.

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