Title - 'Annals of My Glass House'
Artist - Birdsong At Morning
Birdsong At Morning, basically Alan Williams (vocals, guitar, harmonium, string arrangements‘), Darleen Wilson (guitars, vocals) and Greg Porter (bass, vocals) are an 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.
And now, for all our listening pleasures, the group has released a stunning 4 CD box set of material entitled Annals of My Glass House. Featuring the powerful songwriting, compelling voice, and masterful arrangements of Williams, the collective musical gathering of guitars, bass, drums, percussion, strings, and the backing voices of the abovementioned, Annals is truly something gorgeous to behold.
Birdsong At Morning's first release, Bound; offering five compositions evoking the sudden leap and fated destination of restless journeys, is up first and brings us the opening track, 'Those Beautiful Words.' The bouncy 'Prodigal Soul' is next, before the delightful near-seven minute long 'Wishful Thinking.' The acoustic guitar next brings forth the lush 'Roses,' before the thoughtful, and very haunting 'Broken Silences.' A stunning acoustic cover of Blondie's 'Dreaming' closes this first in a four-part series collection - something that the band put together over a year and a half period of time.
Their second album, Heavens begins with the lovely 'Astronomy' before drifting into the dreamy 'Light In The Window.' With each song containing some variation on a celestial theme, the at-times Indian-fused 'Clean' is a true beauty to behold, before 'Adrift' - evoking the beauty and calm terror of losing oneself out beyond the stars - trips its way forth. The electric guitar influenced 'Mystery' is the stand out track here, before the album comes to a close with a personal rendition of the Rolling Stones' 'Moonlight Mile.'
Vigil is the third installment in the band's four-part series and kicks off with 'Numbered Days.' Offering six meditations on the passing of time and the nature of solitude, the free flowing opening song is followed by 'Softly, Like An Amen' (a quote from Aaron Copland). A song that finds the singer summoning the spirit of his romantic partner in the last breath before death, it is truly a mesmerizing track.
Following that is 'Matte Kudasai' (Japanese for "a moment, please," and yet also a 1981 single from King Crimson!) and it is another beautifully sung, wonderfully orchestrated version of that very same song. 'The Heart That Failed' is another perfect composition, but it's the David Sylvian (Japan) vocally-inspired 'So Near' that is, by far, my own personal fav track here. Ending with 'Au Revoir,' a near 8 minute farewell to longstanding relationships, Vigil proves to be the best of the 4-CD collection.
The last album of this outstanding musical experience is Lumens. Contrasting the darker mood of the band's previous release, Lumens lightens the tone immediately with the first plugged-in track, 'Velvet Indigo.' Backed by a more than ample amount of electric guitar, it rolls sweetly into the poppy, drum-fused 'Can't Help Myself.'
The more sedate, acoustic guitar-plucked 'Heartland' (which is quite epic in its own right) and 'Never Make Me Cry' - a cover from Fleetwood Mac's brilliant album, Tusk - flow back-to-back, before the Eastern/African flavored 'Light.' A track very reminiscent of Blackmore's Night, it is easily the stand out song here.
'Morning Glory' allows the album to slow the pace down once again, before the it concludes with a long-time set closer; in the beautiful, romantic melody-inspired, 'Catch Me. [FYI: The inner sleeve of the CD package shows a silhouette of Birdsong At Morning bathed in light.]
The 4-CD box-set also includes a deluxe booklet of lyrics, photos and essays - chapters and verses.