Vigil on Blue Gentian Records
Release date: March 23, 2010
The newest recording from acoustic music ensemble Birdsong At Morning, expands the sound established by their prior releases, Bound andHeavens. Vigil is the third installment in the band's four-part series to be completed later this year.
With Vigil, Birdsong At Morning offers six meditations on the passing of time and the nature of solitude. Infused with the atmosphere of a muted 3am epiphany, Vigil features detailed and evocative arrangements coupled with delicately powerful performances. Though the themes are somber, the music is far from morose, with achingly beautiful sounds hinting of the light of day just over the horizon. Another chapter in the saga, and a welcome addition to the band's catalog, Vigil deepens with time.
"Numbered Days" examines transitory relationships and self-imposed isolation with a catchy-despite-itself chorus.
Inspired in equal measure by Robert Capa's iconic photograph of a soldier from the Spanish civil war, Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain, and a quote from Aaron Copland, "Softly, Like An Amen" finds its narrator summoning the spirit of his romantic partner in the last breath before death.
Continuing the band's tradition of reworking outside material from unlikely sources, "Matte Kudasai" (Japanese for "a moment, please") comes from King Crimson circa 1980.
The unforgiving persistence of memory, and the desire to rewrite it, frames the songs "The Heart That Failed" and "So Near."
The record closes with "Au Revoir," a clear-eyed farewell to longstanding relationships—family, friend, lover.
The cover image for Vigil continues to draw upon the work of 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron whose staged composition entitled, "The Three Marys" perfectly conveys the mood of the record – quiet, contemplative, yet slightly on edge.
Birdsong at Morning
Thursday, Mar 18 at 7pm
at Lily Pad, Cambridge, MA
The passing of time and the nature of solitude are heavy topics, but in the hands of acoustic music ensemble Birdsong at Morning, six meditations on their soon-to-be-released CD, "Vigil," see the light at the end of a dark tunnel. Alan Williams, Darleen Wilson, and Greg Porter make an appearance on Patty Larkin's new release, and at this gig, the trio welcomes a string quartet with ties to the New England Conservatory. The concert supports this third of four installments.
– June Wulff, The Boston Globe