MP3 Pat Orchard - Southern Skies
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12 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Gentle, POP: Delicate
Pat's song writing has certainly improved and he seems to have developed a style on 'Southern Skies' that is recognisable Pat. I particularly liked Souvenir and Sunflower. I don't have to tell you how good a guitarist Pat is, so let the album speak for its self, there are some intriguing passages and tunings, sometimes sounds as if he's got Scruggs banjo tuning pegs fitted on his guitar, I'll need to ask him. A great album and everybody should have it in their collection. BERT JANSCH
Pat Orchards third (CD) finds the bards writing blossoming with a vibrant, transcendent melancholy, which curls around your spirit, like the ghostly evanescence of a medium's necromancing. And yet his folk song is filled with life, with sensitivity and a lightness matched only by the deftness of his touch on the fretboard. The album opens with the hauntingly eloquent instrumental elegy for a lost child, Jacob' a fitting introduction to a collection of songs which are at once real, filled with the breath of life, and yet somehow beyond one's grasp. Like a will o' the wisp or the end of the rainbow, the very moment you think you know where you are the understanding flies away again, and you're left standing, agasp at the beauty and spirituality of it all. The clever atonality of 'Eight Down One To Go' neatly captures a sepia-hued view of the isolation and loneliness that falling in and out of love can bring: it's a feeling matched only by the opening refrain of 'Follys Gate' (helped, it must be admitted, by some very Robert Kirby-esque string backing) and surmounted if at all by the despair-wracked ballad 'Scarecrow Heart', the rippling cadences wheeling and soaring across the meadows like Nightingales on the wing. The relatively upbeat 'Southern Skies' and the gloriously morose 'Souvenir' both hark back to earlier pieces, and might easily have sat conformably on his debut album, 10 Flags. 'Lifesize' contains bass trembling echoes of John Martyn. 'Answers On A Postcard' was another chosen by ourselves for the compilation CD with issue 26 and the lovely 'Clown', which closes the album tells the allegorical tale of a singer-songwriter on hard times. But it's the faraway tones of 'Sunflower' which so neatly pinion Pats despair on the broken strings of his guitar; a haunting appeal for mercy tinged with faint, almost childlike hope, 'Sunflower' is the lovesong of a fragile heart worn thin with the shared pain of a loved-one. Marginally the most beautiful song on the album, it is also the most painful to listen to.
Pat Orchard commands enormous respect from his fellow musicians; he's an astonishingly accomplished guitarist, a very real and believable singer and in my opinion a songwriter of almost unparalleled sensitivity. 'Southern Skies' is a record of almost startling insight and authenticity, and yet the stranger grows stranger inside.
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