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Birdsong At Morning

Signs and Wonders

Review by Gary Hill

This is a music CD. It's also a video album. The double disc set includes both an audio CD and a BluRay disc. Both feature all the same music. The BluRay has music videos that you can either play showing the videos or the lyrics. Additionally, there is a wide variety of audio options that should suit any home theater system. I would consider this music to be folk prog, but it leans toward the modern moody forms of progressive rock a lot of the time. Still, there are song that are closer to pure folk music. However you label this, though, it's a very effective (if a bit mellow) release that is entertaining and very artistic.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Waterfall
Ambient textures give way to a classy fusion kind of texture. The vocals come in over the top, bringing a bit of a folk rock element to this. The tune is melodic prog rock that has an organic, grounded vibe to it. It gets more powered up and soaring further down the road. This is quite an effective number that becomes a real rocker at times. It's a great opener for the disc.
Signs and Wonders

Another powerful melodic piece, this is more fully prog rock based. It has a moody modern prog texture to it. It works through a number of intriguing shifts and changes. It's just a classy tune that manages to be both catchy and meaty.

All the Sadness

A much mellower tune, there is some intricate acoustic guitar at the heart of this piece. It's definitely proggy and in a modern way, but it's also well rooted in the folk prog of the 1970s. The symphonic elements bring some magic to the table. This is quite beautiful and powerful.

Logical
I've always said that (unless you are a tribute act) if you are going to cover a song, you need to make it your own. It doesn't make sense to just reproduce the original. Well, here we get a stripped back, slow moving, balladic take on this classic Supertramp song "The Logical Song" with even the title altered. It gets more powered up in the later parts of the cut, but it's still slow and moody. It's also a very cool version of the track. The second half is an instrumental movement based on the cut's musical themes. At times there is almost a blues meets folk prog groove to this it. It has some cool little quirky, rather playful elements that dance around the arrangement. It gets very powerful and turns rocking and seriously symphonic.
My Ghost
Moody folk music based sounds are the order of the day here. This is pretty and even makes me think just a bit of Gordon Lightfoot. Mind you, it's a vaguely proggy version of that sound.
Won't Let It Go
There is a real Americana vibe to this tune. It has a lot of folk music built into it, too. Gordon Lightfoot is a valid reference here, too. This has electric guitar and is one of the most hard rocking pieces here. Yet, it still has some proggy elements along with country and more in the mix.
Arms Around Me

While this is still built around a folk rock structure, it's more decidedly prog based. It works well. The strings bring a lot to this cut. The arrangement is fairly complex, and the tune gets decidedly powerful with a modern prog angle to it.

Extraordinary
This is intricate and quite pretty. Folk with symphonic elements is the basic concept here. Of course, that brings a folk prog angle to this.
Smiles of a Summer Night
This is a fast moving tune that serves as a great contrast to the moodier stuff that makes up the bulk of the set. While this still has a lot of folk music built into it, for some reason bits of it make me think of Rush a bit. When it gets more soaring and powered up the symphonic prog elements really come to the fore. This is a classy cut and a great change. Some horns bring a Latin groove to this cut later along the line.
Kehena Sunrise
I love the acoustic guitar work on this cut. It's intricate and so classy. Of course, that works for a description of this piece overall. Of course, that acoustic guitar work is basically all there is on this short instrumental.
Study in Blue
A powerfully rocking number, this has a lot of that symphonic folk rock vibe. This is one of the most intense and driving numbers here, yet it also drops down for mellower modes, too. The symphonic section later in the track is full on progressive rock.
 
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