It's been seven years since we've had a studio album from Natalie Merchant and "Leave Your Sleep", her new collection of songs adapted from the works of a wide spectrum of poets, is, in Merchant's words "the most elaborate project I have ever completed or even imagined." Indeed! Over 130 musicians playing on 26 tracks in multiple musical styles- Cajun, reggae, chamber, jazz, Celtic, r&b and early music. The songs were recorded in live ensemble settings and the spontaneity and live feel come through beautifully.
The project was inspired by a "long conversation" between Merchant and her daughter during the first six years of her life, with Merchant bringing the characters of obscure poems to life as she read aloud. Five years of research ensued and in the process, Merchant, who has never thought of herself as a poet despite her years of writing song lyrics, became absolutely enthralled and "used music to enter these poems." The CD will be available April 13th. Album cover and Natalie picture here by the amazing Mark Seliger!
I'll play tracks from "Leave Your Sleep" along with new music by Josh Ritter, Jonsi, and Doug Wamble today during mvyradio's The Lunch Hour (12 noon ET) and on Uncharted Waters tonight (9 PM ET) www.mvyradio.com. Tonight's featured artist on UW is Angelique Kidjo.