I don’t do record reviews. At least I didn’t until now. I guess I have to start because Dear Old Dad and I are starting a folk music magazine (more on that later) and reviews are going to happen now and then . . .
Anyway, here goes:
My wife and I have had a special fondness for the English band known as Harp & A Monkey ever since we received the group’s first CD back in 2011. That disk wound up being blasted in our car stereo on just about every trip back and forth from the hospital.
The band’s website describes the group as, “electro-folk storytellers“. That works for me because describing what Harp & A Monkey does is like trying to explain a Zen koan. The band makes very British music while addressing topics that are completely universal. They have a sound that is exhilaratingly modern while being deeply rooted in tradition. Intelligent but innocent. Brash and gentle. The comparisons could go on forever but it adds up to the simple fact that Harp & A Monkey just is.
The band’s new album, All Life Is Here, finds the group continuing to blend old and new ideas. The results are great – and sometimes breathtaking. The title track, an old poem put to new music, simply describes the people and happenings on a street that could be anywhere. As someone who has spent a good part of his life in small towns I completely relate when the chorus becomes an almost triumphant shout proclaiming that, “All life is here”.
The other tracks are equally good. The music blends traditional and unexpected instruments and sounds to tell stories. The instruments are handled with the kind of relaxed expertise that makes it a treat to sit back and let the band spin a tale wrapped in beautiful music.
This a great album.
Harp & A Monkey on the web: http://www.harpandamonkey.com/
Harp & A Monkey on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Harpandamonkey
The first in a planned series of introductory harmonica workshops.
Available on the Internet Archive.
This morning, for the first Sunday in ages, I was well enough to go to church with Amy.
When I walked into the chapel the congregation broke out in applause. I didn’t expect that. There is something comforting about having so many people happy to see that I am doing better.
After church I took Amy to ihop. At the table behind us a family was exchanging Christmas presents. They were not able to be together at Christmas so they were celebrating the holiday in February.
Among the group of holiday revelers was a mother and child. The baby seemed fascinated by me. He probably thought I was Shrek. Anyway, I grabbed my harmonica and played Silent Night for the little one.
Picked up my Martin and ran through some old chestnuts. “Walk On By”, “The Green Green Grass of Home”, “The Town I Loved So Well”, “I Still Miss Someone” and a bunch of others.
My shoulder was okay, but my biceps tendon was screaming until I got the guitar neck at an angle where my arm was, shall we say, functioning harmoniously.
The best part was realizing that, as I continue to heal, I have the privilege of rediscovering my guitar all over again.
Are You Washed In The Blood Of The Lamb?
Howdy. Just though you might like to see a few Pictures I had taken yesterday here at the South Pole Station with my Dearing Banjo. It was only -50 below out not to bad of a day. But you still just can’t play a lot of banjo in that cold of weather LOL. Enjoy.
Jack Sharp. South Pole Station Antarctica.
More adventures with Captain Jack:
Little Quinoa is a wonderful companion.