Previously, Willy Porter's Available Light (here) and How to Rob a Bank (here) came astern the FAME wavefront and were noted for their refinement and capacious interblending of a number of modes into a smooth, highly rhythmic, and sophisticated blend resulting in a categoryless estate. Well, in Live at BoMA, a tony uptown Columbus (Ohio) venue for art events and such, he recruits a classy string quartet, Carpe Diem, for a spirited seven-spot of great songs that continue to lie outside easy definition.
Mind you, every one of these gems could easily go on adult music air, whether of the satiny MOR variety or more variegated tendencies within indie dial positions, and, more than once, one is reminded of Elvis Costello and his Brodsky work, but when Porter slips into melancholy in cuts like the gorgeous Dishwater Blonde, well, the differences are clearly seen. Interestingly, it's also within this song that some of the cleverer arrangements are heard, with Willy damping his chords to provide percussives as violins keen and wail. Then there's that propulsive John Martyn-esque fingerpicking element in Breathe, not to mention an ultra-cool mumble-scat he has occasion to resort to, demonstrating the aforementioned melting pot approach amid a Romantic-neoclassical setting.
Live should have been a double-disc set, so captivating is the fare. The experience is as of listening to a filmic narrative blending Del Newman, Benjamin Britten, Danny Elfman, and William Ackerman into a skein of episodic frames moving toward a Proustian finale. Don't even consider dancing; instead, lower the lights, pour a glass of malbec or maybe a shiraz, let the evening settle into night, and slowly relax into the moody beauty of the somber baroque drapery of this flowing treasure. And if, especially during Big Yellow Pine, you catch strains of one of Mickey Newberry's most brilliant masterpieces, In a New Age, well, know that the kindredness is not mistaken even if it wasn't intended.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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