Though I prefer threnody - minor keys are, after all, sumptuous feasts to those pondering the dark side of life—I'm always on the look-out for well-stated...well, I guess you'd call it 'happy music', and Noah Earle's This is the Jubliee is just such a beast. Elder groups—American Flyer, Aztec Two-Step, etc.—just didn't cut it, and individuals like Edu Lobo were a skosh too much on the goopy side, as was Dean Freidman, though I still like both those cats. Earle, though, is a modern roots folker whose given a lot of thought to his lyrics and intonations, at times almost reminiscent of what John Cale was doing with Nick Drake (as in "The Sky's on Fire") but with a markedly different temperament.
Right out of the starting gate, with the semi-symphonic Jubilee, there's a silk-smooth sense of joy and peace, not of the feel-good TV sit-com variety but of a life going correctly in a down-home rustic fashion, complete with the sort of nigglingly strange side factors normally left completely out of the conversation in others' musics, elements carrying add piquancy and flavor. That lo-slung orchestral mood pervades This is the Jubilee deliciously, always well leavened, never overstated, extremely pleasant. Sometimes all it takes is Kevin Hoover's trumpet, muted or otherwise, above Earle's chord picking to create just the right degree of statement; on other occasions, it's Dave Wilson's cello, but the application is always beautifully arranged, wistful while smiling.
There are elements, as I noted above, of the old America combo peeking through (Intertwined), and Earle's backing vocals to his own sung leads are warm and shining with light, mellow matrices akin to what Simon & Garfunkel did so well. The guy's elaborately fingerpicked guitar patterns are often lost in the attractiveness of the melodies and vocals, but My Silent Lullaby shows just how capable Earle is, laying out complex interweaving threads that rise and fall like a breath caught wondering at a sunset painting itself into a night landscaped in layers and billows.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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