C5S5CD5 Numbers picked by my good friend Zahra @fnafilms . For those who don’t know Natalie Merchant was the singer in 10,000 Maniacs a band who despite their name produced in beautiful music and possibly the best of all the MTV Unplugged performances captured as Merchants swansong with the band as she left to left soon after to pursue a solo career.
The House Carpenter’s Daughter is sub-titled a collection of traditional & contemporary folk music. This was Merchant’s fourth solo studio and her most challenging work for both artist and listener! (Since this release she has spent 7 years researching children poetry painstakingly document the story and setting her favourites poems to music) but back to the random release.
I saw that this challenge for the listener from a very personal point of view, I struggle with folk music in its purest form, by that I don’t mean Mumford & Sons or Laura Marling who are making folk music fashionable, I mean Pete Seger, and the likes of Ewan McColl great great songwriters but truthfully not to my tastes. This album covers both spectrum's that I talk about and this is why I struggle with this album. It has been a long time since I have listened to it and I must admit I have enjoyed it more than I thought I would, as I counted the CDs on the row I was praying that the numbers would stop before or after this CD as I thought I would be in for a rough ride.
There is a awful lot of banjo’s on this album an as much I like a bit of banjo it just keeps coming back at you! Saying that House Carpenter skips along beautifully, and Down On Penny’s Farm is a absolute gem of a track perfect for square dance!
Don’t get me wrong as far as I am concerned Natalie Merchant can do very little wrong, her body of work stands up for itself but I would have to say this is my least favourite album start with Ophelia or Tigerlily or her best of simply called Retrospective 1990-2005 if you really want explore her music.
Oh yeah and if you get a chance to see Natalie live go she is one of most engaging live performers I have ever seen.