Deborah Stokol – The Wife of Bath: Alysoun’s Tale
Genre: Indie Folk, Folk, Americana
I’m finally nearing the end of one of literature’s most famous novels, one that, granted, I should have probably read by now. That would have been sparred me a shock. It turns out, I can state naively, that no progress has truly been made by human beings in the past 200 years, at least not in the way they deal with violence, tragedy, or the way they waste joy. That’s a bit of a bummer!
I stood there reading the thing, first thinking myself lucky to access such wisdom, then realizing that many others had read it before me, and yet had done little to improve the state of the world. Miseries, as well as simple pleasures, are a constant in the history of this world. But, just when does modern art become something with which libraries, at the very best, being concerning themselves? Maybe it’s time we face it. We can learn everything about the present from the past and it won’t do us much good either way.
If ever you want to get a taste of literature that humorously describes the vile and corrupt nature of man, you can’t do better than Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Deborah Stokol did. On The Wife of Bath: Alysoun’s Tale, the singer finds the missing link between the job of the old troubadours and that of pop groups like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. It’s ambitious, yes, but so was Chaucer’s work.
Nathan Wiley – Heatseeker
Genre: Retro Soul, Folk, Americana
I’m not a big fan of the good old days. It’s partly because I never lived those fabled times in the 1960s and 70s when everything, music especially, was supposed to be better. And, to be honest, as a would-be musician myself I enjoy the prospect of cheating while trying to put sounds together. Computers and all the software tools that come with help in this regard.
I will admit, however, that the fact that nobody would have had any business stepping into a music studio without either being an incredible player, a great poet, or a wonderful producer might have something to do with the way many of those old records sound. Chopping things up with a mouse and a prayer is cool, but being able to do everything through great playing and singing is a formula that one can’t exactly improve upon.
Nathan Wiley could’ve done a lot with his musical career, but had he not decided to use his warm, well-trained voice it would all have been such a shame. With a tine that reminds us of Paul McCartney on his earliest solo releases and a backing band that plays on Heatseeker as if just having been invited in the studios at Motown, this is something that fans of music done right will appreciate.