Chris Eckman: The Last Side of the Mountain (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

 |   |  <1 min read

Chris Eckman (with Anita Lipnicka): Who Will Light Your Path?
Chris Eckman: The Last Side of the Mountain (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Eckman has been one of the cornerstones of the long-running and very credible alt.country outfit the Walkabouts, has released solo albums, and been a member of the ever-evolving Willard Grant Conspiracy. All of which should recommend him if you follow this particular path of string-augmented, soul-baring songwriting.

But the material for the bulk of this album comes from an unusual source: here Eckman sets to music some of the stark poems of the late Slovenian Dane Zacj who he places in the pantheon alongside Townes Van Zandt.

There is an elemental quality to these images and lyrics, and the indifference of the world, the price you'll pay for life, matters of belief and other weighty ideas. But Eckman sets them to memorable (beautifully produced, and intimate or uplifting) melodies.

Guitars gently soar, synths add scale and texture, the orchestration is supportive and elevating.

Certainly some may hear this as earnest as Bono at his most breathy and self-important, but that would be a superficial reading of what is here: these are powerful poems with real depth and resonance.

Originally from Seattle, Eckman has been living in Slovenia for many years and here brings that quality to the music too in the company of local players.

One to definitely check out and immerse yourself in. Especially if the name Leonard Cohen means anything to you.  

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various: The Empire Strikes Back! (Glitterhouse)

Various: The Empire Strikes Back! (Glitterhouse)

Compilations and samplers don't often get a look in at Elsewhere (except for this week I note!) and this double disc stood even less of chance: it arrived about two months ago but after I listened... > Read more

Cassandra Wilson: Loverly (Blue Note)

Cassandra Wilson: Loverly (Blue Note)

More so than her Blue Note labelmate Norah Jones, vocalist Wilson (along with violinist Regina Carter on Verve incidentally) has redefined the parameters of what we know as "jazz" in the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Denniston, West Coast, New Zealand: Damned and damp

Denniston, West Coast, New Zealand: Damned and damp

The weather was perfect: fiercely cold, low mist and a chilling drizzle. This is ideal when you are at Denniston, because only in such miserable conditions can you get some small appreciation of... > Read more

Jonathan Crayford/Ben Street/Dan Weiss: Dark Light (Rattle Jazz)

Jonathan Crayford/Ben Street/Dan Weiss: Dark Light (Rattle Jazz)

Since Auckland's Rattle label signed a deal with Wellington's Victoria University Press (VUP) it has become alarmingly productive. Albums -- especially those on the Rattle Jazz imprint -- are... > Read more