MP3 John Kruth - Splitsville
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16 MP3 Songs in this album (47:22) !
Related styles: FOLK: Folk-Rock, WORLD: Balkan
People who are interested in Tom Waits Randy Newman should consider this download.
Stylistically Kruth strikes wherever he pleases. Thereâs blues, mountain music, bluegrass and a bit more jazz. Kruthâs songs are often hilarious,always pointed, and the picking always crisp. This one is purest delight.
â Sing Out!
"John Kruth is impossible to peg â his omnivorous approach yields a wealth of riches, ranging from Mid-Eastern jams to Waits-like blues ballads to squirrelly jazz-pop ditties."
- Dallas Morning News
"The Madman of the Mandolin"--San Francisco Guardian
Here's the Back-story of Splitsville: This is my ninth album and the first with a theme. All of the songs on Splitsville were either inspired by or written during my many travels to Croatia since 2003. The basic tracks were cut at Tetrapak studios by Ivica âPipoâ Covic in Split, Croatia with Vinko Dodovic on akordian and Zlatko Bodaric on guitar in the summer of '06. Then I brought the files home and a cast of illustrious musicians including Jonathan Segel and Victor Krummenacher of Camper Van Beethoven spruced up the tracks, along with maestro Matt Darriau of the Klezmatics. Jonathan also added some luminous violin later on when he got back to San Francisco. A trip to Milwaukee in the winter of 2007 produced a few more gems with Jeff Hamilton, Paul Kneevers (who also engineered and co-produced the tacks as well), John Sparrow, Josh Tovar and Lodi Capri all playin' their hearts out in a cold studio for little or no pay. âDarkoâs Waltzâ was inspired by my sweetheart Marilynâs cousin Darkoâs face as he recounted the experience of defending his hometown of Sibinek from the Serbian onslaught in the early nineties. I was so moved by his story I began to write a song about it but no words would come, just this old world melody. Usually somebody says something or Iâll read something somewhere that inspires me and the next thing I know Iâm writing another song. With âBeyond the Mountainsâ it was the first time the process ever happened in reverse. I was in Istria, sitting beside a sparkling turquoise swimming pool on a hot summer day, strumming my mandolin when the opening line of âBeyond the Mountainsâ popped into my head and I wrote the rest of the song right then and there. About a week later I was down in Split, talking with the director of the mandolin school when I said something to him about the wide diversity of Croatian music. He replied that the mountains often act as cultural dividers. âBehind the mountains there are strange people that play strange music and have different customs,â he said. I nearly fell off my chair again. âAnchoviesâ was inspired by the sad-eyed lady of the ribarnica (fish market) selling a small plate of anchovies with a far-away look in her eyes. I saw her every morning on my way to the café for my morning cup. I hope one day Marianne Faithfull with her singular voice will do this one justice. Although Croatia is a country of many operators itâs not always easy getting anything done. Hence âManana Land.â Wherever I went in Hrvatska I noticed the omnipresent image of Saint George, atop his noble steed, striking a bold pose with his lance drawn, about to slay the dragon. But I never actually saw a picture of him where he finished the damn beast off. The âSong of the Old Saintsâ attempts to answer âwhy weâre in this mess today.â âYou can go to Hungary, Italy or Greece but youâre never gonna find a love that deep.â A bit of rock ânâ roll for my âBrac Girl.â The first time I heard the saying Bog Je Rekao Laku Noc - âGod Said Goodnight,â I flipped. Although the lyrics are filled with images of New York decadence, the sentiment is timeless and world wide and never would have come into being without the dry wit of the Croatian people. Was Josip (Marshall Tito) good or bad? âIt depends upon who you ask.â âLeavesâ is a country waltz inspired by a classical pianist I know in love with Franz Liszt. âYellow Ellenâ was inspired by Darkoâs daughter, Jelana, who has caught the eye of many a passer-by in the village of Sibinek. I had recently met Donovan at Heathrow Airport and between the gentle rhythm of the rocking boats, trying to pronounce Jelanaâs name correctly and having made the acquaintance of the cool cat who once cooed âMellow Yellow,â âYellow Ellenâ was born. âTinâs Tangoâ is for the Tin Supreme â Tin Ujevic, poet laureate of Croatia. I wrote it on the plane home from the âold countryâ and recorded it in my kitchen one fall afternoon with my friends Jonathan and Victor from Camper Van Beethoven and clarinetist Matt Darriau of the Klezmatics. The jovial graphic artist Pavo Majic of Naranca Gallery in Split told me about the adventures of the avant garde artist Pave Dulcic and his defiant act of painting the square in front of the Diocletian Palace red in January, 1968. Protests raged in the streets from Chicago to Paris to Prague that year. Thus a proletariat rocker was in order. This âBalladâ was recorded with a funky green Framus guitar and the crunchiest amp Iâve ever heard. Every summer Marilyn and I make a pilgrimage to Brac, to visit her fatherâs ancestral homeland. We have a favorite corner of the isle where we like to relax and swim, where the Adriatic is particularly magical, warm and salty. Marilyn calls it âthe emerald bathtub.â Itâs a bit of a hot, dusty hike to get there but it makes it all the more worthwhile. Over the last five years none of the cars that go whizzing by (mostly with Czech, Hungarian and Italian license plates) have ever stopped to ask if weâd like a lift. One hot July afternoon an old bald guy with a jutting jaw behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Beetle did just that. âThe Lone Croatian Generalâ was soon telling us his story. We went for a delightful swim and then I wrote this song. A couple hours later I grabbed my banjo and went looking for him where he sat outside the hotel to play him his song, but he was gone. âSonya (Sonja)â is dedicated to the lovely wife of the great Croatian sculptor Dusan Dzjamona. While at a museum in Zagreb I saw an unusual figurine of the âRaven-Headed Hunter,â undoubtedly some mascot for a hunting club, but my take on the supernatural crow/man aiming his rifle was that he out for revenge on those who killed his friends and relatives for sport. (Dig that Jewâs harp solo by Jeff Greene!) In the city square in Zagreb they sell some hellacious homebrew that will make your head spin. âThe Rakia Songâ was inspired by such purveyors of moonshine. On New Yearâs Eve they hole up in little wood shacks, determined to party with no regard for the weather. Zivili!
John Kruth wears a lot of hats. He is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist(mandolin/guitar/ banjo/harmonica/ flutes). The Star Ledger (Newark, NJ) has called Kruth âa major talent, with an understanding of how to craft a first-class lyric.â John has recorded seven albums and performed at Carnegie Hall as a soloist for composer John Corigliano. He has also performed with playwright Sam Shepard, poet Allen Ginsberg, performance artist Laurie Anderson, producer Hal Willner, folksinger John Prine, as well as Violent Femmes, the Meat Puppets, Elliott Sharp and formed the Electric Chairmen with members of Camper Van Beethoven. Kruthâs curiosity and diversity continually leads him into a variety of intriguing musical settings, from New York to Nashville, from Morocco to Croatia, from to Ireland to India as well as England, Spain, Germany and the Navajo Nation. U. Rajesh, the Carnatic mandolin virtuoso of India has called John âa true artist,â while jazz guitarist John Scofield hailed his performance as âburninâ.â Kruthâs picking once inspired Robert Plant (of Led Zeppelin) to enthuse: âgreat mandolin playing, mate!â Blues/rock guitarist James âBloodâ Ulmer told Kruth, âyouâre a real entertainerâ after he watched him wow the crowd at a tribute to Neil Young in Prospect Park in 1994. And the godmother of punk, Patti Smith, after listening to Kruthâs Songs from the Windy Attic told John: âI like your album. Youâve got a nice voice.â
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