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Meander - Phil's Rambling Rants
June 26th, 2005
11:49 pm

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Meander
The bonus I referred to in my weekend update was an envelope from chirosinger containing the copy of Riverfolk's debut CD Meander.  I listened to it in the car on the way home.  I popped it in the CD player in my better boom box here at home (never having gotten aroudn to buying a real stereo from some reason) and, disturbingly, it refused to play it, so I put it in my second-best boom box and played it a couple more times while I was writing LJ entries.

The main point here:  Wow.  Just wow.  I've been stalking chirosinger and chasophonic for long enough that I've heard all of these songs, most of them several times, many of them with Andy, and once at Barb's Basement with Sally and Roady as well.  None of which prepared me for how good this album sounds.

Let's be simple and direct here.  If you only buy one album this year, this is it.  I don't mean "if you only buy one filk album".  This is way better than anything you'll find on a so-called major label from so called professional musicians.  (The music industry doesn't want talent, so talent doesn't make for success in the industry.)  If you appreciate folk music with a high quality of musicianship, you must have this album.  If you're a fan of good country music -- where you can still hear the lyrics and you want to -- you'll probably really like this album.  Some of the arrangements are almost country.  If you're a blues fan, there are echoes of that style here.  If you're an Ookla the Mok fan, you'll be tickled to find a cover of one of theirs here.  If you're an old time folk fan, there are covers of John Prine and Tom Paxton and even some Woody Guthrie lyrics with music by Billy Bragg.  If you follow more recent names, there are covers of Cheryl Wheeler and Kate Wolf.  All stunning.  But it's not all covers; there are originals too, and they're songs every bit as good as the ones from the Big Names.  And finally, if you've heard Riverfolk at cons around the Midwest, you've liked them (or, musically speaking, you're not worth talking to), so you've *got* to hear how good they sound with all the magic of a few guest musicians and a studio recording.

On the packaging:  The cover looks good.  The band name should be more obtrusive though.  It would be nice if the liner notes included lyrics, but I understand about the economics of adding more pages to the booklet.  I've only noticed one real problem:  Nate's name is misspelled in the musician credits.  Unless there really do happen to be two brilliant bass players with names that similar -- seems unlikely to me.

On the engineering:  I really like the mixes.  The vocals are clear and the lyrics understandable, but at the same time the instruments are clearly doing their thing.  The bass is quite noticeable, and I love bass guitar, especially when it's played with a bit of panache, so I'm happy.  The guest harmony vocals are sweet.  The only quibbles that I can think to quibble are that Chas' vocal seems a little more raw on Five Days in May than usual, and My Kid Brother is too loud relative to the other songs (when I have the volume set to listen to the rest of the album, track 15 comes along and it's jarringly loud) -- I forget the technical term for this.

Oh, and there's something missing from my copy.  Something your copy isn't supposed to have, but my copy was.

Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: Riverfolk - Meander
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[User Picture]
From:musicmutt
Date:June 27th, 2005 12:44 pm (UTC)
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"(when I have the volume set to listen to the rest of the album, track 15 comes along and it's jarringly loud) -- I forget the technical term for this."

The term you are looking for is "mastering".
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From:chirosinger
Date:June 27th, 2005 03:54 pm (UTC)
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I must say, we've enjoyed being stalked by the likes of you Phil. And thanks for all the wonderful comments on the CD. I'm glad you're enjoying it. We're pretty happy with how "Meander" turned out.

Oh, and there's something missing from my copy. Something your copy isn't supposed to have, but my copy was.

Andy is still out of town and we haven't run into Roady for a few weeks so neither of them has even heard or seen the finished CD yet. So we haven't had the chance to do that thing yet. We will as soon as we see them again (probably at next week's rehearsal) and then you and I can swap covers. I just thought you'd rather have the music to listen to now rather than having to wait another few weeks. Cool?

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From:tigertoy
Date:June 27th, 2005 06:15 pm (UTC)
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Cool.
(Deleted comment)
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From:chirosinger
Date:June 27th, 2005 07:19 pm (UTC)

If I may be so bold.....

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Riverfolk's first CD "Meander" is now available for sale! We will have CDs available at all of our live appearances and also available through the mail. Please send your check made payable to "Chas Somdahl" for $15 for each CD along with $2 for shipping and handling for each order. (Additional shipping will be required for more than 4 CDs and for orders sent outside of the US.) Orders can be mailed to Becca Allen, PO Box 6858, Minneapolis, MN 55406. For your convenience, we are also happy to accept payment through PayPal. However due to PayPal fees, we must request an extra $1 per CD. Let me know and we'll make the arrangements.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:chirosinger
Date:June 27th, 2005 10:30 pm (UTC)

Re: If I may be so bold.....

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I KNOW Gidget! Which Karen do you know here? Which John? Who are you? Have we met? I'm Becca Allen (used to be Becca Kahn). If you know Gidget, do you know Darcy? If you seriously want a CD and feel uncomfortable about sending money to a stranger [especially in Minneapolis, 'cause I know we're hard folks to trust ;-) ] then we could always use tigertoy as an intermediary. He's knows us. He stalks us! Or you could come to Minneapolis for the CD release party on July 17 at Molly Quinn's!
[User Picture]
From:chirosinger
Date:June 27th, 2005 10:32 pm (UTC)

Re: If I may be so bold.....

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And who is Blur?
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From:blur01
Date:June 29th, 2005 11:25 pm (UTC)

Re: If I may be so bold.....

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Huh? What?!?

Whats going on in this channel?

I be blur. Or blur I be. (blurib)
[User Picture]
From:chirosinger
Date:June 30th, 2005 12:34 am (UTC)

Re: If I may be so bold.....

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I was just trying to figure out if huashan and I knew folks in common other than tigertoy and Gidget. But I'm guessing not.
[User Picture]
From:chirosinger
Date:June 30th, 2005 12:36 am (UTC)

Re: If I may be so bold.....

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But regardless.....Hi Blur! *waves* I'm Becca. Nice to meet you. You're another Minneapolitan I hear!
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From:blur01
Date:June 30th, 2005 11:58 am (UTC)

Re: If I may be so bold.....

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Up here they call me a "transplant".

Not that I know the future, but I suspect I might stay here a while. Unless, of course, I get this job in Alaska.
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