How far Natalie Merchant has come since her days with 10,000 Maniacs, with a career even more brilliant since she decided to pursue her solo career. Nonesuch Records has been kind enough to send us a very early copy of this great vintage, allowing us to write this review. On this new album, we even have the pleasure of two duets with singer Abena Koomson-Davis (Resistance Revival Chorus), contributions from the Celtic folk group Lúnasa and virtuoso Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, as well as brass arrangements from jazz trombonist Steve Davis.
We also note the beautiful cover of “Hunting the Wren” by Ian Lynch of the Irish band Lankum, making this album a resplendent eclectic mix. Indeed, Natalie Merchant seems to be unleashing all her creative forces over time, putting more joy and temperament into her interpretations. Undoubtedly, her work as a poet and painter feeds her in an extremely positive way.
On the side of composers/ arrangers, we have Gabriel Kahane, Stephen Barber, Colin Jacobson, and Megan Gould, who bring an unusual touch to Natalie Merchant’s work without detracting from her inimitable style. So, we take as much pleasure in rediscovering Natalie Merchant’s magnificent voice as in appreciating the quality of her lyrics and arrangements, which is quite rare these days where most artists slip into a disconcerting ease.
As always with Natalie Merchant, nothing is left to chance, and each album is a concept that resonates even in the design of the cover. We must also congratulate the magnificent work of the sound engineers, David Sryder and Matt Hall.
For all those who follow Natalie Merchant’s career, this is a masterpiece that, although different from previous albums, does not lose its soul. On the contrary, for those who are not yet familiar with Natalie Merchant’s work, this is undoubtedly the best album to enter her universe, and perhaps even the most accessible.
As you know, we receive a lot of albums, and rare are those that intuitively find their way to our hearts and unanimously seduce the editorial teams of Paris-Move and Bayou Blue Radio, who did not even have to discuss ranking “Keep Your Courage” in the category of “Must-Haves.”
Correspondent in USA
Bayou Blue News – Bayou Blue Radio – Paris-Move
PARIS-MOVE, March 12th 2023
To order the record: click here
NATALIE MERCHANT ON TOUR:
Apr 15&16 Bardavon, 1869 Opera House (Sold Out), Poughkeepsie, NY
Apr 18 Byham Theater, Pittsburgh, PA
Apr 19 Paramount Theater (Sold Out), Charlottesville, VA
Apr 21 Kimmel Cultural Campus, Philadelphia, PA
Apr 22 Hershey Theatre, Hershey, PA
Apr 24 Peace Center Concert Hall, Greenville, SC
Apr 26 Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, FL
Apr 27 Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Apr 28 Saint Augustine Amphitheatre, St. Augustine, FL
Apr 30 Atlanta Symphony Hall, Atlanta, GA
May 9 Merrill Auditorium, Portland, ME
May 10 Emerson Colonial Theatre (Sold Out), Boston, MA
May 13 Keybank State Theatre, Cleveland, OH
May 14 Taft Theatre, Cincinnati, OH
May 16 The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts, Carmel, IN
May 17 Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, MI
May 19 Chicago Theatre, Chicago, IL
May 20 Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, WI
Jun 2&3 Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York, NY
Jun 28 Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Providence, RI
Jun 30, Jul 1 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC
Jul 8 Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater, Chautauqua, NY
Sep 20 Martin Woldson Theatre at The Fox, Spokane, WA
Sep 22 Venue TBA Seattle, WA
Sep 23 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, OR
Sep 26 The Masonic, San Francisco, CA
Sep 27 Mountain Winery Saratoga, CA
Sep 29 Humphrey’s, San Diego, CA
TBA: Venue TBA, Los Angeles, CA