FAME Review: Paul Mosley - A Chattering of Birds
Paul Mosley - A Chattering of Birds

A Chattering of Birds

Paul Mosley

Folkwit Records - fOO88

Available from Paul Mosley's online store.

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Frank Gutch Jr.

Who is Paul Mosley and why has he been hiding all of these years? I grabbed this album on the strength of a recommendation from someone I trust and boy am I glad I listen to him because this jumped right to the top of my playlist three songs in. A Chattering of Birds is Paul Mosely's sixth album—count 'em—six! His five previous albums floated right under the bridge without a whisper. How does this happen?

I don't know, but I have been busy clicking on tracks Mosley has posted on his website and I can attest to the talent. Five albums worth. Sitting on his music page just waiting for anyone to stop by for a listen. Just sitting there. Waiting. Three hundred plays on this one. Less than a hundred on that one. Just waiting to be discovered.

Of course, A Chattering of Birds has yet to be placed there and at this point that's too bad because it is, shall we say, a bird of a different color. Mosley is less "up" on this one, the songs on the whole a bit more introspective. It is, as far as I can tell, the perfect starter album because Mosley, as good as he is on his earlier pieces, is here on a different plane. He reaches heights you hear all too seldom, in fact, and I hear slight tinges of some of my favorite singer/songwriters of the past—Nick Drake, Nick Holmes, Stu Nunnery, Phillip Goodhand-Tait and others. Just for a phrase or maybe in a chord progression or a single line, but if you listen closely enough, you can hear them

If I had to describe the music on Chattering in one word, I believe it would be humanity and I don't know if I could tell you why. There is an ease which sounds like freedom, at least as it applies to music. That ability to work the music like a soft dough, stretching it out here and bunching it together there, tossing in a bit of folk or jazz or theater at just the right times which seems to make the music more fluid, if that makes any sense.

My favorite tracks right off, and I admit to having only heard this three times thus far (I usually wait until the tenth listen to even begin writing, but this album cut through the ether very quickly) are Let's See What This Baby Can Do with its upbeat Nick Drake feel in the verse (not so much in the chorus, though the chorus is excellent in contrast), Flamingo Bones which sounds a little bit island and a little bit fifties standard, Song of the Silent Bird—again, that Nick Drake feel, and Right On—seven and a half minutes of ethereal beauty. I know those songs are 8-9-10-11 on the album, but something comes over me when I get to that point and I stop typing because the rhythm of the keys detracts from the emotion/mood.

Mosley has a good voice and I am sure that many writers will key on it, but I think his real strength is his songwriting. There are songs and there are songs, but he has come up with an exceptional bag of them. As did Nick Drake. As does Nick Holmes and Stu Nunnery and Phillip Goodhand-Tait. An old buddy of mine who was a songwriter enthusiast always said that you could have the best voice in the world but it meant nothing without the song. Then he would hold up a Bob Dylan album as contrast. I laughed at him, but I cannot deny the truth. To me, without the song, the voice means little. Fortunately, Mosley has both.

You know, writing about music these days is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that I am exposed to gems like this. A curse in that I have a tendency to go overboard for the artists and music I like and sometimes love. The thing is, someone who reads reviews and takes them as gospel in this day and age is spinning wheels. While it is true that Mosley has yet to post A Chattering of Birds on his website, I am sure it will be soon. If not there, on some other page. My point is that it shouldn't take more than a cursory listen for you to understand what I've written. Paul Mosley, on this album, is not just good. He is magnificent. The band too. You can quote me.

Track List:

  • A Chattering of Birds
  • King of Birds
  • Hummingbird
  • The Beast
  • Red Crow
  • Champion
  • Skylark Above Me
  • Let's See What This Baby Can Do
  • Flamingo Bones
  • Song of the Silent Bird
  • Right On
  • Hey! It's the End of the World
All songs written, owned and arranged by Paul Mosley.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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