Title - 'A Slight Departure' [CD+Blu-ray]
Artist - Birdsong at Morning
For those not in the know, Birdsong At Morning - Alan Williams (vocals, guitar, harmonium, string arrangements), Darleen Wilson (guitars, vocals) and Greg Porter (bass, vocals) - are a highly talented, wholly underrated acoustic music ensemble. With long histories in the music business countered by extensive experience in business, media, and academia, this trio of friendly relations stretches back decades.
Quietly ambitious, confident, assured, Birdsong At Morning actually debuted with a 4CD box set entitled, Annals of My Glass House in 2011. The lustrous sounds and gorgeous packaging garnered rave reviews and airplay across the country and served as a prelude to the expansive vision evidenced on the bandís new album, the just-released CD+Blu-ray, A Slight Departure.
Indeed, with the release of A Slight Departure, the band ventures beyond the intimate, quietly contemplative nature of their debut, and delivers an album with a broader sonic palette and a notable increase in energy.
The opening track is the lush 'The Great Escape', a lovely mid-tempo track that fairly bustles along with a nice pop sensibility, and that's backed by both the more serious-sounding, gruff even ballad 'Never To Part' and the stunning guitar work of 'Murderous Friend'. The deliberate, stalking 'Devil's Stomping Ground' is a stand out highlight of this new album, for me at least, and that's backed by the Simon & Garfunkelesque 'Midnight Vespers' and then the upbeat countryfied 'Dimestore Dreamers'.
The delicate guitar plucking ballad 'Mountainside' is next and with the tone turned down even more, is followed by the crisp Fall-days-for-miles 'Pages'. The beat is turned up somewhat for 'Not For Sale', and that is backed by the running-through-the-Summer-meadows 'Kipahulu Sunrise', and then the album comes to a close with both the heartfelt plea of 'Down In The Hole' and the breathtaking 'Lead Me On'.
Featuring the powerful songwriting, compelling voice, and masterful arrangements of Williams (whose "day job" is the chair of the music department at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell), the collective musical gathering of guitars, bass, drums, percussion, strings, and the backing voices of the abovementioned, let alone a host of new and old collaborators, A Slight Departure is truly something gorgeous to behold.
A Slight Departure is a well-crafted set of 12 melodies and harmonies, but the audio CD is not the only thing to be found here, for this 2 disc set also comes with a Blu-ray. This second disc is the complete album in 5.1 Surround DTS-HD Master Audio 24/96, 5.1 Surround LCPM 24/96, Stereo LCPM 24/96, and also features an Instrumental Stereo LCPM 24/96.
The three Music Videos also contained on this wondrous new musical set are: 'Never To Part', 'Devil's Stomping Ground' and 'The Great Escape'. Lastly, the Detailed Itinerary includes a 40-minute feature with Alan discussing the creation of each song.