TRC

Natalie Merchant: Leave Your Sleep (2010)

Leave Your Sleep

Track list:

Part 1 – Leave Your Supper:
01. Nursery Rhyme of Innocence and Experience
02. Equestrienne
03. Calico Pie
04. Bleezer’s Ice-Cream
05. It Makes a Change
06. The King of China’s Daughter
07. The Dancing Bear
08. The Man in the Wilderness
09. maggie and milly and molly and may
10. If No One Ever Marries Me
11. The Sleepy Giant
12. The Peppery Man
13. The Blind Men and the Elephant

Part 2 – Leave Your Sleep:
14. Adventures of Isabel
15. The Walloping Window Blind
16. Topsyturvey-World
17. The Janitor’s Boy
18. Griselda
19. The Land of Nod
20. Vain and Careless
21. Crying, My Little One
22. Sweet and a Lullaby
23. I Saw a Ship A-Sailing
24. Autumn Lullaby
25. Spring and Fall: to a young child
26. Indian Names

Leave Your Sleep (2 back 1)

Personnel:

Part I: Leave Your Supper
01 – Nursery Rhyme of Innocence and Experience [inspired by: Charles Causley]
Acoustic Guitar – Paul Meehan
Bagpipes [Uilleann] – Cillian Vallely
Bass – Jeremy McCoy
Cello – Eileen Moon, Jeanne LeBlanc
Double Bass [Upright Bass] – Trevor Hutchinson
Fiddle – Sean Smyth
Viola – Karen Dreyfus, Robert Rinehart
Violin – Ann Lehmann, Arnaud Sussmann, Lisa Kim, Matt Lehmann, Minyoung Baik, Sandra Park, Shan Jiang, Sharon Yamada
Whistle – Kevin Crawford
String Arrangement – Natalie Merchant, Sean O’Loughlin

02 – Equestrienne [inspired by: Rachel Field]
Bass – Greg Cohen
Cello – Eileen Moon
Horn – Daniel Grabois
Organ [Pump Organ] – Artis Wodehouse
Trombone – Benjamin Herrington
Trumpet – Brian McWhorter, Jon Nelson
Tuba – Raymond Stewart
Viola – Karen Dreyfus
Violin – Sandra Park, Sharon Yamada
Orchestrated By – Natalie Merchant, Stephen Barber

03 – Calico Pie [inspired by: Edward Lear]
Banjo – Richard Stearns
Double Bass [Upright Bass] – Mark Murphy
Dulcimer – Bill Spence
Fiddle – Judy Hyman
Guitar – Gabriel Gordon

04 – Bleezer’s Ice-Cream [inspired by: Jack Prelutsky]
Trumpet – Wynton Marsalis
Bass – Carlos Henriquez
Drums – Ali Jackson
Guitar – Doug Wamble
Piano – Daniel Nimmer
Saxophone – Walter Blanding
Vocals – Edward Hall, Isaac Freeman, Joe Rice, Joseph Thompson, Robert Hamlett
Arranged By – Wynton Marsalis

05 – It Makes a Change [inspired by: Mervyn Peake]
Acoustic Guitar – Dieter Hennings
Trumpet – Michael Leonhart
Bass – Chris Wood
Drums – Billy Martin
Piano – John Medeski
Trombone, Tuba, Horn – Dan Levine
Vocals – Katell Keineg
Horns Arranged by – Michael Leonhart

06 – The King of China’s Daughter [inspired by: Anonymous]
Cello – Eileen Moon
Erhu – Wang Guo Wei
Flute [Dizi Flute] – Weng Po Wei
Pipa – Sun Li
Viola – Karen Dreyfus
Violin – Sandra Park, Sharon Yamada
Vocals – Katell Keineg
Arranged By – Natalie Merchant, Stephen Barber

07 – The Dancing Bear [inspired by: Albert Paine]
Accordion – Lorin Sklamberg
Bass, Horn – Paul Morrisset
Drums [Frame Drum, Poyk, Snare Drum] – Richie Barshay
Fiddle – Lisa Gutkin
Saxophone, Clarinet – Matt Darriau
Trumpet, Horn – Frank London
Vocals – The Klezmatics

08 – The Man in the Wilderness [inspired by: Anonymous]
Accordion – Uri Sharlin
Bass – Marc Friedman
Cello – Greg Heffernan
Clarinet – Gilad Harel
Drums, Percussion – Dan Aran
Guitar – Erik Della Penna

09 – maggie and milly and molly and may [inspired by: E.E.Cummings]
Bass – Marc Friedman
Cello – Eileen Moon
Drums – Sterling Campbell
Guitar – Erik Della Penna
Viola – Karen Dreyfus
Violin – Sandra Park, Sharon Yamada
String Arrangement By – Stephen Barber

10 – If No One Ever Marries Me [inspired by: Laurence Alma-Tadema]
Banjo – Richard Stearns
Double Bass – Mark Murphy
Dulcimer – Bill Spence
Guitar – Gabriel Gordon

11 – The Sleepy Giant [inspired by: Charles E. Carryl]
Concertina, Voice [Of The Manservant] – John Roberts
Guitar [Baroque], Theorbo – Dieter Hennings
Harpsichord – Deidre Rodman
Recorder, Chalumeau – Nina Stern
Viola – Motomi Igarashi
Arranged By – Natalie Merchant

12 – The Peppery Man [inspired by: Arthur Macy]
Drums – Rich Huntley
Electric Guitar – Pete Smith
Harmonica – Wade Schuman, William Barrett
Resonator Guitar [Dobro] – Michael Gomez
Saxophone, Clarinet – Steve Elson
Trumpet – Pam Fleming
Tuba – Joseph Daley
Vocals – Edward Hall, Isaac Freeman, Joe Rice, Joseph Thompson, Robert Hamlett

13 – The Blind Men and the Elephant [inspired by: John Godfrey Saxe]
Banjo – Pete Smith
Clarinet, Saxophone – Steve Elson
Drums – Rich Huntley
Harmonica – Wade Schuman, William Barrett
Lap Steel Guitar – Michael Gomez
Trumpet – Pam Fleming
Tuba – Joseph Daley
Vocals – Abby DeWald, Amanda Barrett, Edward Hall, Isaac Freeman, Joe Rice, Joseph Thompson, Robert Hamlett

Leave Your Sleep (inside)

Part II: Leave Your Sleep
14 – Adventures of Isabel [inspired by: Ogden Nash]
Accordion – Blake Miller
Banjo – Richard Stearns
Double Bass [Upright Bass] – Mark Murphy
Fiddle – Judy Hyman
Guitar – Gabriel Gordon

15 – The Walloping Window Blind [inspired by: Charles E. Carryl]
Acoustic Guitar – Paul Meehan
Bagpipes [Uilleann] – Cillian Vallely
Double Bass – Trevor Hutchinson
Fiddle – Sean Smith
Whistle, Bodhrán, Vocals – Kevin Crawford

16 – Topsyturvey-World [inspired by: William Brighty Rands]
Trombone – Clark Gayton
Bass – Hoova Simpson
Drums – Paul Sutton
Guitar – Andrew Bassford
Keyboards – Horace James
Percussion – Larry McDonald
Saxophone – Gerald Johnson
Trumpet – Eddie Allen
Vocals – Joanne Williams, Kimberly Miller
Horns Arranged By – Clark Gayton

17 – The Janitor’s Boy [inspired by: Nathalia Crane]
Trumpet – Wynton Marsalis
Banjo, Guitar – Doug Wamble
Bass – Carlos Henriquez
Clarinet – Victor Goines
Drums – Ali Jackson
Piano – Daniel Nimmer
Saxophone – Walter Blanding
Trombone – Wycliffe Gordon
Vocals – Abby DeWald, Amanda Barrett
Arranged By – Wynton Marsalis

18 – Griselda [inspired by: Eleanor Farjeon]
Saxophone – James Spake
Bass – Michael Leech
Drums – Gene Chrisman
Guitar – Reggie Young
Organ [Hammond] – Bobby Emmons
Piano, Electric Piano – Bobby Wood
Trombone – Jack Hale
Trumpet – Wayne Jackson
Horns Arranged By – James Spake

19 – The Land of Nod [inspired by: Robert Louis Stevenson]
Bass – Jeremy McCoy
Bassoon – Marc Goldberg
Cello – Eileen Moon, Jeanne LeBlanc
Clarinet – Lino Gomez
French Horn – Erik Ralske, Howard Wall, Michelle Baker, Phil Myers
Harp – Ina Zdorovetchi
Oboe – Sherry Sylar
Percussion – Erik Charlston
Trombone – Birch Johnson, George Flynn, Mike Davis
Tuba – Kyle Turner
Viola – Karen Dreyfus, Robert Rinehart
Violin – Ann Lehmann, Arnaud Sussmann, Lisa Kim, Matt Lehmann, Minyoung Baik, Sandra Park, Shan Jiang, Sharon Yamada
Orchestrated By – Natalie Merchant, Sean O’Loughlin

20 – Vain and Careless [inspired by: Robert Graves]
Lute – Dieter Hennings
Recorder – Nina Stern
Viol [Viola Da Gamba] – Motomi Igarashi
Arranged By – Natalie Merchant

21 – Crying, My Little One [inspired by: Christina Rossetti]
Acoustic Guitar – Paul Meehan
Double Bass – Trevor Hutchinson
Fiddle – Sean Smith
Flute – Kevin Crawford
Whistle – Cillian Vallely

22 – Sweet and a Lullaby [inspired by: Anonymous]
Banjo – Richard Stearns
Concertina – John Roberts
Double Bass – Mark Murphy
Dulcimer – Bill Spence
Fiddle – Judy Hyman
Guitar – Gabriel Gordon

23 – I Saw a Ship A-Sailing [inspired by: Anonymous]
Acoustic Guitar – Paul Meehan
Double Bass [Upright Bass] – Trevor Hutchinson
Whistle – Cillian Vallely, Kevin Crawford

24 – Autumn Lullaby [inspired by: Anonymous]
Clarinet – Bruce Creditor
Flute – Jessica Lizak
Harp – Ina Zdorovetchi
Arranged By – Natalie Merchant

25 – Spring and Fall: to a young child [inspired by: Gerard Manley Hopkins]
Bass – Jeremy McCoy
Bass Clarinet – Lino Gomez
Bassoon – Marc Goldberg
Cello – Eileen Moon, Jeanne LeBlanc
French Horn – Erik Ralske, Howard Wall, Michelle Baker, Phil Myers
Harp – Ina Zdorovetchi
Oboe – Sherry Sylar
Percussion – Erik Charlston
Trombone [Bass] – George Flynn
Trombone [Tenor] – Birch Johnson, Mike Davis
Tuba – Kyle Turner
Viola – Karen Dreyfus, Robert Rinehart
Violin – Ann Lehmann, Arnaud Sussmann, Lisa Kim, Matt Lehmann, Minyoung Baik, Sandra Park, Shan Jiang, Sharon Yamada
Orchestrated By – Natalie Merchant, Sean O’Loughlin

26 – Indian Names [inspired by: Lydia Huntley Sigourney]
Cello – Alberto Parrini, Mihail Jojatu, Owen Young
Flute, Drums, Rattle, Toasting [Speaking] – Joseph Fire Crow
Toasting [Chanting] – Jennifer Kreisberg
Strings Arranged By – Stephen Barber

Leave Your Sleep (4 book 1)

Released: April, 2010
Label: Nonesuch (USA)
522304

Producer: Natalie Merchant, Andres Levin

All songs composed by Natalie Merchant with text by various poets.
****

Throughout her career, Natalie Merchant has thrived on exceeding her own expectations no matter where her Muses led or her critics forbade her to go.

Her last album, 2003’s The House Carpenter’s Daughter, rooted in American and British Isles folk traditions, was a stepping stone toward Leave Your Sleep.

Where the former’s songs were made of originals and covers, the latter marries them in sung poetry and original music from various traditions.
Co-produced by Merchant and Andres Levin, the double-disc Leave Your Sleep contains 26 new songs recorded live in the studio.

She used the poems, anonymous nursery rhymes, and lullabies of 19th and 20th century British and American writers as source material and set them to original music.

Among the authors included are Ogden Nash, e.e. cummings, Robert Louis Stevenson, Christina Rossetti, Edward Lear, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mervyn Peake, Eleanor Farjeon, Nathalia Crane, and Robert Graves.

Poetry is but one part of the story, however.

Merchant composed music from across the genre spectrum: New Orleans swing on “Bleezer’s Ice Cream” (Jack Prelutsky) and Crane’s “The Janitor’s Boy” are performed by Merchant fronting the Wynton Marsalis Orchestra; the Yiddish folk music of “Dancing Bear” (Albert Bigelow Paine) pairs her with the Klezmatics; Peake’s “It Makes a Change” is performed by Medeski, Martin & Wood with a horn section; “If No One Ever Marries Me” (Laurence Alan-Tameda) is Appalachian backporch music with hammered dulcimer, banjo, upright bass, and guitar.

“The Blind Men and the Elephant” (John Godfrey Saxe) is cabaret jazz played by Hazmat Modine with the Fairfield Four and the Ditty Bops on backing vocals.

Stevenson’s “Land of Nod” is a gorgeous orchestral piece with a Celtic flavor.
Speaking of Celtic, Rosetti’s “Crying, My Little One” is performed by Lunasa backing Merchant.

Through it all, of course, is that voice, Merchant’s throaty trademark.

It expresses itself emotionally, honestly, and precisely, without resorting to dramatic tropes to get meaning across.

The album closes first with Hopkins’ contemplative, melancholy “Spring and Fall: To a Young Child,” with a symphony orchestrated by Merchant and Sean O’Loughlin, and finally with Lydia Huntley Sigourney’s haunting “Indian Names” by a string quartet accompanied by Joseph Fire Crow on Native American flutes, drums, rattles, and narrative, with chanting by Jennifer Kreisberg.

It sends the set off much where it begins, illustrating poetry’s ability to provide its own musical instruction, comfort, poignancy, and sense of wonder to the experience of everyday living.

Merchant succeeds in spades; the extensive research and discipline pay off handsomely.

Leave Your Sleep is easily her most ambitious work, yet because of that welcoming voice, it provides familiarity enough to gather listeners inside this world of sound.
~Thom Jurek[allmusic.com]

*****

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