Michael Weston King – The Battle
Cherry Red – April 1, 2022
Originally meant as new My expensive Clementine album, it grew to become clear that the songs by Michael Weston Kings on The Struggle would function a folksy Americana solo singer-songwriter album slightly than their old-school nation duets. This led to Michael’s first impartial recording in ten years. However, his spouse and singing accomplice Lou Dalgleish lends her vocals to one of many tracks, the title of which relies on a working theme however is definitely named after a hill stroll within the Lake District.
Recorded in Mid Wales between Winter 2020 and Spring 2021, with vocals by Jeb Loy Nichols, it’s framed by two variations of Weight Of The World, sung within the function of a veteran New York police officer (a part of the “thin red line of blue”) who voted for Trump (“I put a cross next to the names/ I figured that would be a change for the better/The guys down at the train station all convinced me/although I never really got it”). Disillusionment follows in a reference to how Trump cleared a Washington road of peaceable protesters so he might wave a Bible in entrance of St. John’s Church; what got here out of it (“Now I look at the man who got my vote/Why does decency and love get stuck in his throat?/Who sends soldiers onto the streets instead of messengers of hope”) and what has develop into of America Light of George Floyd tragedy (“I saw her on the news the other night/And I clearly understand it’s not right/Holding down a man while he’s begging for his life”). It’s all succinctly summed up within the chorus “It’s not the weight of the world on our shoulders, it’s the weight of a man,” leaving him “just one more number/No more acting stupid/Seeking redemption with a thousand yards.” lengthy look”. Repeated on the finish in an prolonged model with the ghostwriter remix, the Wurlitzer extra distinguished and with a newsreel report; With its up to date resonance, it is among the best issues he is written.
That’s to not say the remainder of the fabric is of decrease high quality with a mixture of private materials and storytelling. Second, constructed on a lilting, descending chord melody, is a straightforward acoustic guitar and mandolin dependancy theme Sugar (“They say you’re bad for me/And yes, I know that’s true/You’re not the only one what I want /But you’re the one who gets me through”), a co-writer with Peter Case, who, wearing Townes-esque border-country tones, comes with a tongue-in-cheek pun (“Struck by the cane/Every time I feel the pain/ Just one hit and I can’t stop”) and a delicate electrical solo.
Accompanied by Colin Elliot on second piano, the softly anthemic The Hardest Thing Of All offers with despair (“When the hardest thing of all/Is just getting out of bed/And the sun that’s streaming in/Only lights a dark in your head/ Und du got nowhere to go/So you turn and stay/Under a blanket of sorrow”) and having to face stuff you’d slightly not do (“When the hardest thing of all/Is admitting that something’s wrong /And you trying to tell someone/who you’ve known for so long/they say they’re coming over today/or maybe they’ll just call/will you open the door?”).
Keeping the temper, impressed by a former neighbor who was extra optimistic and hardworking than he was, and that includes strings and hints of Mickey Newbury within the music, Another Dying Day continues the theme of the lack to search out objective or the trouble to do something along with your life (“My neighbor greets me without warning/His sun comes up every morning/He can’t see the clouds over my wall/The weeds are growing outside my door/No roses are blooming and here’s something more/It there’s no one left to grow them”), attempting to not develop into “one of those men/who’s up at six and in his cups by ten/trying to kill the day/so I leave the bottle on the table/I leave those pills in the jar / And trying to get through the day alone”).
Loss and discovering a option to stay with it performs a giant half in a number of numbers. The bittersweet The Old Soft Shoe is danced slowly to a stunning old-time waltz and sung within the voice of a widower reminiscing in regards to the days within the ballroom along with his late spouse (“I still do the old soft shoe/I trip around the kitchen, there’s a table for two/But I live here alone and nobody knows/That I dance all alone every night/I close my eyes and I’m by your side”), Barnaby Dickinson’s trombone provides to the heat of his reverie.
A extra particular loss stands behind Valerie’s Coming Home, a farewell word written after the demise of Lou’s mom (and a poignant counterpart to MDC’s Ashes, Flowers and Dust, which she wrote in regards to the deaths of her father and mom) and her transfer to a nursing house, their ultimate days and the following funeral (“they put away their cards and letters/folded their favorite sweaters/handed over their wedding ring that hasn’t/hasn’t been removed for 50 years/taken off all the photos/snapshot moments from the past/ All her memories and faded souvenirs packed/Nobody wants to see her go/Nobody doesn’t want to find her at home”). The Frank who is told in the lyrics to close the window and keep the heat on is actually Michael, Valerie inexplicably always calling him by that name. When he sings: “Two have gone out of this frame now / For the other three, life is not the same / But each generation will still hold a piece of you / Behind the front door there’s a pile of mail / And a light that’s blinking , there are messages on the phone/From older sisters you didn’t survive/Well-wishers from the past/Called to say they’d be over/As soon as you got home,” I have to confess, wiping tears from my eyes.
The melody is paying homage to “Hello In There, a different Frank” and seems within the following “Me & Frank” with Elliot on cello, impressed by the reminiscence of an old style pal (really named Anthony) from his youth in Southport, the primary verse you recalled bagging grass seed they’d collected on the seashore to promote door to door for folks’s lawns earlier than the narrative took off into Nebraska a la Highway Patrolman territory and morphed right into a story, transferring from horse stealing to introducing a gun. a theft, an argument (“He took his mother’s car, the Mercury/He took his cut, and took mine too/I’m still waiting here and he got free”) and like Frank, “misplaced all the things in a dropping recreation has’, because the narrator ends with ‘I have not seen him in 30 years/I miss his smile however not the tears’.
The two remaining songs each consult with his pal, the late Jackie Leven. Again starring Jeb Loy Nichols alongside Michael’s daughter Mabel Dalgleish-King on soprano recorder and vocals, initially showing on the tribute album The Wanderer and fantastically channeling this man’s music and spirit, The Final Reel is a celebration of “You roaring, roving vagabond/You great storytelling vagabond” whereas singing “Now the trumpets have all sounded /And the last scroll has been played/You taught me the ways of the drunkard/Now I must drink alone/But I will.” play the halls we knew so effectively / And I’ll sing the songs we cried / Until I be part of you within the satan’s choir / Your voice won’t ever die”.
Also, Theory Of Truthmakers, initially meant for a similar album however not accomplished in time, that includes Dave Luke on mandolin, Mike Cosgrave on gentle, soothing strings and Steve Nieve on piano, is a posthumous co-writing with Michael setting Leven’s phrases to music ( the handwritten lyrics are within the liner notes), the sparse association paying homage to Scott Walker’s Scott 2 with the ascending, hymn-shaded refrain (“But you and I/We press our palms/Andreach for the sky/There’s a face in the cloud/I don’t recognise/That stares down on you and I”), wherein he’s joined by Lou, who definitely borrows partially from the Bing Crosby/Grace Kelly basic True Love, with the monitor beginning with an acoustic guitar solo ends.
There might be a brand new My Darling Clementine album sooner or later, however this can be a most welcome return to the solo highlight and I might enterprise to counsel his finest album but.
Credit: Michael Weston King