RECOMMENDED RECORD: Paul McLaney: As the North Attracts the Needle (AAA/digital outlets)

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Go Well
RECOMMENDED RECORD: Paul McLaney: As the North Attracts the Needle (AAA/digital outlets)

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release we recommend on vinyl, like this album originally released in October but now on record with an insert lyric sheet and a classy cover.

Check out Elsewhere's other Recommended Record picks . . .

In an understated but relevant cover of his own design, this album finds  Paul McLaney returning to his acoustic guitar for 10 intimate and typically thoughtful songs.

These pieces have a discreet spiritual quality (All It Takes is Time), a delight and wonder in Nature (Like a Diamond in the Sky), an appreciation of slowness (“pause for a moment, take a deep breath and hold it” on A Moment) and a quiet sense of optimism: “Our shared understanding it is simple, it is plain . . . we could all live in harmony” (on Harmony).

He looks back at being a younger man on I when he was impatient for the world to understand (an echo of the young Paul Simon singing “fools said I you do not know"?) but is now grateful for being granted “so long a lease”.

The Rest Will Come in Time wears its message in its title: “The world is too much and I know that you know, I tried my best”.

The title track is the most grounded in the physical world as he notes we have become “slaves to the treadmill, running to standstill”, a multiple metaphor.

The final song Go Well is like a benediction: "When you reach that distant harbour and when you set your foot ashore, follow the path beside the river as many men have done before. And when it narrows to the stream and when you reach your journey's end you will meet someone there waiting. And you will know them for a friend. Go well . . . Go well …”

These are short songs, like a collection of two minute-plus meditations which can be read as such, notably One Day After Another.

They embrace the miracle of living at a time when voices of complaint, self-interest and division are shouting loudly.

Breath in, breath out. Keep it simple, enjoy the moment.

It can be so simple.

This collection couldn't have come at a better time.


You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here.

There is a considerable amount about Paul McLaney at Elsewhere including interviews and him discussing his work. Start here

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Con Fowler - Dec 10, 2023

Another winner. Lovely songs. Looking back over my music collection over the last several years, it would not have been nearly so interesting or varied, but for all the great stuff you turn up. That I would have never come across otherwise. Thanks, and have a lovely Christmas

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