Breath in the Wind
The Breath In The Wind, Howard Gladstone's third CD of original songs, is a step forward in the clarity and power of the writing, and the simplicity and directness of the songs. It's a step back - to a much simpler production, compared to his previous works. The album features singer-songwriter Howard Gladstone on acoustic guitar and vocal, and just two accompanists - long-time collaborator and brilliant guitarist Tony Quarington, and outstanding bass accompanist Kevin Zarnett. Howard Gladstone's songs cover a lot of musical territory, styles, and themes. The album ranges from ballads to blues to folk with hints of country, pop and old-time jazz. Gladstone gets around, and the songs reference locations as diverse as Paris' Left Bank, Jerusalem, Georgia (USA, not USSR), Delhi (Ontario), and the Good Old USA. The opening song "Follow Your Heart" is an upbeat and optimistic song in a minor key and sets the tone. Songs range from love ballads (I Want to Be Closer) to a mini-tragic tale of love gone wrong (Twelve Candles); to family dynamics (Big House Blues, Six Years On The Road), to reflections on human nature and the illusion of security and permanence (Tear Down These Walls in God's Garden). Other songs are just plain fun (Six Weeks In A Plaster Cast); South Of the Border (Good Old USA) is a satirical look at the USA from a Canadian perspective. The title track "The Breath In The Wind" is written in memory of the loss of a mother. Virginia McIsaac wrote, "Howard Gladstone shapes ordinary words into beautiful visions... these are songs of strength and courage.. with lyrics (that) bite into the social conscience of humanity and touch us right in the heart ...(and) arrangements that really make the songs interesting" in reference to Gladstone's previous album. It serves as an apt description of what Gladstone is continuing with the release of "The Breath In The Wind." All songs written by Howard Gladstone. Brief descriptions: Follow Your Heart - A hopeful song in a minor key; following your dreams usually entails risk - since what's good comes at a price. Twelve Candles - A tragic waltz where lovers never connect; this song is based (loosely) on the facts surrounding a Paris hotel fire. Tear Down These Walls in God's Garden - A plea for reconciliation in spite of understanding the dark side of human nature; the illusion of security. I Want To Be Closer - A lyrical and intimate love ballad. King of Bad Choices - A nod to the music of the 1920s; this guy is a throw-back, the type of man who needs an attitude adjustment in 21st century society. Leon's Last Song - Humour and irony with a touch of defiance; in the face of death, down-and-out, Leon keeps on proudly leading the life he chose. Drinking More Than I Should - The bottle's half full, or maybe half empty; a bluesy/boozy statement that love is a powerful and fiery thing; and well worth it. Big House Blues - When a family is disintegrating everybody suffers; it's hard to escape from your roots. Six Years On The Road - A death in the family brings the possibility of reconciliation, as a wayward son returns home. South of the Border (Good Old USA) - A satirical look at our American neighbours and our smug Canadian selves. I hope they recognize it's a joke the next time I cross the border! Six Weeks In A Plaster Cast - When you're served lemons, the best plan is to make lemonade. Yes, I did break my arm, and wrote this song during that period. When Like The Rain - A lyrical ballad; a restful lullaby. The Breath In The Wind - This song was written immediately after the death of my mother. The breath in the wind is the breath in the song, and I can't explain it better than that.