I don’t do music reviews as much as I used to, so I’ve enlisted my buddy MrBig (a Psychology doctoral candidate and talented guitarist) to do the deed for someone worth mentioning, Catie Curtis. I’ve been trying to encourage MrBig to blog, so drop some comments and let him know what you think…
Long Night Moon Review
My first encounter with Catie Curtis’s music was when I saw her self-titled CD on the shelf of Borders Books (Yes, for all you iTunes generation, music stores do exist). Vocally, she sounded a little like Sarah McLachlan but her lyrics were more down-to-earth; talking about issues and stories with simple artistry. In fact, her music inspired me to write a (yet-to-be-titled) song on the “effects of parental suicide due to depression on children” (lousy song title [I know] but good dissertation topic). Anyway, here is my take on “Long Night Moon,” Catie’s 2006 release.
Long Night Moon is like a long overdue dose of “Catie”nated energy drink that fans of indie folk need. Besides containing an international songwriting competition grand prize winning song “People Look Around,” Long Night Moon contains songs that reflect parenting, human emotions and thoughts, political frustrations, and hope. Collectively, the songs on this album have the organic feel that is associated with other songs from Catie. However, the songs sound less processed (i.e., less overlapping tracks) and sounded like the instruments were played simultaneously, hence, giving the album a pretty “live” feel to it. For those who have been to Catie’s solo shows, you know how her guitar and vocal can fill up the entire sonic dimension.
The following is my thoughts and interpretations on the songs on Long Night Moon. They may be way off from the original thoughts of Catie…
Find You Now – Like the other albums, Long Night Moon opens with an upbeat, refreshing hopefully-sounding track. Find You Now, gives a glimpse of what it is like to be still looking for “the one.”
Strange – Clear as a whistle guitar riffs with xylophone accompaniment. Add a strumming ukulele and some bass, it becomes a nice song to play around the campfire as you sway side-to-side. I don’t really know what this song is about but it sounds like a story of a very confused person…probably mesmerized over someone else.
Water and Stone – Another song that doesn’t have a clear theme. But I think it is about losing someone to something greater than oneself. Self-actualization in play?
It’s a Wonder – A simple song about being thankful for having the one you love. Finding someone you can call a soul mate is less complicated than the statistical probability of finding life only on planet Earth, but it is, nevertheless, a blissful blessing. This is a quiet song to share with your loved one over a warm fireplace and hot cocoa. Light cello adds to the ambience of the song. Oh, by the way, dim the lights.
Rope Swings and Avalanches – This song reminds me of Magnolia Street (original version; one of my favorite Catie Curtis songs). It is so musically saturated with virtually no empty “sonic” space (except of a short break). Though I wish the bass was deeper and with more sustain. This is one of those songs where I close my eyes and time stand stills (at least for the duration of the song). Lyrically, it sounds pretty sad. What do you do when the relationship you thought could stand the test of time doesn’t work out?
People Look Around – Written out of frustration with the way the government responded during and after Hurricane Katrina destroyed most parts of New Orleans. People Look Around won Catie and her co-writer Mark Erelli the grand prize in an international songwriting competition. I think this song is somewhat therapeutic for many people. This song probably gave voice to many people who were emotional affected by the disaster created by the government. Thank you, Catie and Mark.
Innocent – Another quiet song with acoustic guitar and piano. Maybe a song about change and how one can be renewed.
Passing Through – How can we make this world a better place for our children? This song should be played to every new mother or soon-to-be mother. No effort is too small in making this world better. Remember, though we are just passing through, we are passing on values and this world to our kids.
Hey California – “…Take your heavy coat off…turn the heat up in the house…we’ll make a fire right inside the house…we got ways to entertain ourselves” This reminds me of a family who turned out the heat and wore their swimming suits indoors. Don’t laugh at us… we got ways to entertain ourselves.
New Flowers – What are the reasons to give up the things you once treasured most? Two reasons more?
Hard Time With Goodbyes – For lack of better terms, this song sounds reminds me of funky-chicken, washboard, and string bass. How we wish that the good times never ends. This song is like the funky version of “It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.”
Long Night Moon – The music and melody of this song sounds like a warm lullaby for any child. However, the lyric really reflects missing someone far away during a long winter and waiting for him/her to return. Hmmm… I wonder if the text from “Goodnight Moon” can be sung to the melody of Long Night Moon.
This album is not one you take for your gym workout (unless you consider a leisure 2 hour ride on the stationery bike a workout). But it would be a great soundtrack when tracking in the open country roads, busy city transits (note: be careful of looking too blissful, other commuters might get jealous) or just spending time doing the littlest things with your littlest ones.