52 Guitars: Week 42
Most of my entries in this series have emphasized technical brilliance, though not, I hope, empty brilliance: I haven't included anyone who doesn't have something interesting to say musically. But there's a place for people who don't dazzle you with speed, and yet have the ability to move you. Daniel Lanois is one of these.
If he has a lot of money in the bank, it's probably because of his work as producer for many artists whose names are better known than his: Bob Dylan (Oh Mercy and Time Out of Mind), U2 (The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, and others), Emmylou Harris (the masterpiece Wrecking Ball). One thing most of those recordings have in common is a richly reverberant and mysterious guitar sound which is something of a trademark with him. He's also a brilliant artist in his own right, and if you listen to one of his solo albums you see immediately where that atmosphere comes from. Here are two selections from his solo instrumental album Belladonna.
"The Deadly Nightshade":
To my taste his albums are a little uneven, but if you were to take the best of all of them you'd have a body of work that would stand with anything produced in the past 50 years. Not only is it brilliant musically, but it shows a deep religious sensibility. From his first solo album, Acadie, here's the instrumental "White Mustang II":
And here's a non-instrumental track which is a great example of the guitar-based texture and ambience he creates for a song. He's the only player/producer I know who can make a full-on distorted guitar chord feel like a warm embrace. You really need to hear this on a decent sound system to appreciate the instrumental work, because there's nothing ostentatious about it. There's a deep bass line that you probably won't even hear on computer speakers. From Shine, "I Love You":
What is that rare quality that makes a work of art a tear-jerker even though it's not sad?
Reminds me of David Gilmour.
Posted by: Robert Gotcher | 10/19/2014 at 05:32 PM
Hmm, I wouldn't have made that connection. Offhand I can't think of anything that sounds very similar.
Posted by: Mac | 10/19/2014 at 09:14 PM
Wrecking Ball is one of my all-time favorite albums. I have always thought I should pursue listening more to Lanois' solo stuff and never have. Maybe your blog will make it happen, Mac!
Posted by: El Gaucho | 10/20/2014 at 10:46 AM
Yes, do! I'm pretty sure you would like at least some of it a lot. I've heard Acadie, For the Beauty of Winona, and Shine, and am not sure which one I'd recommend
Posted by: Mac | 10/20/2014 at 12:03 PM
The Deadly Nightshade is telling me that my arrest record is online.
Posted by: Janet | 10/20/2014 at 01:14 PM
Those instrumentals are good work music.
Posted by: Janet | 10/20/2014 at 01:37 PM
I always wonder, when I see that bit about my arrest records being online, what it says about the target audience for the site where the ad appears.
Posted by: Mac | 10/20/2014 at 06:29 PM
It could be for people who have actually employed Deadly Nightshade.
Posted by: Janet | 10/20/2014 at 08:15 PM
I didn't realize that belladonna and deadly nightshade are the same thing. That makes this the title song of the album.
Posted by: Mac | 10/20/2014 at 10:20 PM
On Youtube I usually get adverts in French or Dutch. But then I listened to Jethro Tull, and the adverts switched to Polish. Very revealing.
Posted by: Paul | 10/21/2014 at 12:01 PM
Indeed. Who'd have thought Tull was a favorite in Poland?
Posted by: Mac | 10/21/2014 at 03:12 PM
Havent' even listened to this yet. We have an extremely demanding famous writer staying with us in South Bend.
Posted by: Grumpy | 10/25/2014 at 03:23 PM
Well, I've been wondering why you haven't been saying anything lately.
That sounds dreadful.
Posted by: Janet | 10/25/2014 at 03:28 PM
Of course we want to know what extremely demanding famous writer.
Posted by: Mac | 10/25/2014 at 04:44 PM
Well, if he's going to cut your grass for you, you shouldn't complain. ;-)
Posted by: Janet | 10/25/2014 at 10:35 PM