|Dimensions||21 × 15 × 1.0 cm|
Award winning composer John Thorn is joined by legendary Australian performer Lindsay Field (John Farnham Band) and Emily Taheny (Mad as Hell ABCTV) for a musical odyssey through Henry Lawson’s most beautiful poems.
Inspired by Tangos, English Music Hall and European folk tunes and echoing composers such as Jacques Brel, Astor Piazzola, Joni Mitchell and even the Anglican Hymn Book, Looking for Lawson features original melodies that sound equally fresh and familiar.
There have been several albums of the poems of, Henry Lawson, being set to music, beginning with, John Manifold and John Clements, with the Bandicoots in 1966.
Others include, Shirley Jacobs (A Voice from the City), Hugh McDonald (The Lawson Album), John Schumann and the Vagabond Crew (Lawson), Chloe and Jason Roweth (The Soul of a Poet), and now John Thorn.
There have been other recordings of individual poems, such as Lawson’s, “Faces in the Street”, which has been put to music by the Bushwackers, Chris Kempster, and recorded by, Declan Afley.
Readers might like to suggest others.
For example, I have located 11 different recordings of “Andy’s Gone With Cattle” by Australian artists.
However, I doubt many readers will be familiar with the work of John Thorn.
He is more well known for his musical theatre work, as a composer and musical director.
He has written all the tunes to accompany the poems and plays piano on every track.
He has invited two vocalists to participate in this project, which was performed as a stage show during 2015 and 2016.
They are, Lindsay Field and Emily Taheny.
The latter is a recognised comedian, although judging by her work on this album, she should do more singing.
Field, I am familiar with his work in rock and pop music.
He has a wonderful voice that is under-recorded, but has complemented, John Farnham’s, live touring sets.
His only album, “Mother’s Love” I found underwhelming.
Field and Taheny alternate and share lead vocal duties on the songs.
The songs are arranged in chronological order, from “Sons of the South”, written in 1887, finishing with “On the Night Train” written in 1922, the year Lawson died.
While Thorn has done well to present each poem in a different manner, every song is based around the piano playing of Thorn’s, which gets a bit tiring after a few listens.
I don’t think these interpretations are particularly folky, I would have preferred the introduction of traditional folk instruments.
However, if you are a fan of Henry Lawson’s work, you may find some things to interest you.
For mine, Jason Roweth has a better grasp of the Lawson legacy, his voice better suited to the stature of the poems and intent.
However, I enjoyed the following tracks: “Faces in the Street”, “Freedom on the Wallaby”, “Taking his Chance” and “After All”.
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