Alicia Bay Laurel | Music From Living On The Earth

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Music From Living On The Earth

by Alicia Bay Laurel

Psychedelic Folk--think of Richard and Mimi Farina or Kate Wolf. Unique lyrics, open tuned guitar improvisations in John Fahey style, peace, love, nature, and spirit.
Genre: Folk: Gentle
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. In the Morning
2:51 $0.99
2. Chard & Chives
2:44 $0.99
3. Rain
1:51 $0.99
4. Hang Out and Breathe
2:38 $0.99
5. Thanksgiving Hymn
3:07 $0.99
6. Rinpoche
3:56 $0.99
7. Oh Sweet Self
3:05 $0.99
8. Waterwheel
2:10 $0.99
9. Mandala
3:15 $0.99
10. Nineteen Sixty-six
2:10 $0.99
11. Vai Raga
3:29 $0.99
12. Pain and Love
3:13 $0.99
13. Lullaby
4:01 $0.99
14. Family To Me
2:15 $0.99
15. Sky Blues
2:20 $0.99
16. Invocatioon
3:11 $0.99
17. In the Morning (Choral Version)
2:23 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
In 1970, at the age of 20, Alicia Bay Laurel saw her first book published, a guide to bohemian country living completely handwritten and illustrated with her line drawings, which she created while living at a hippie commune in Northern California. Living On The Earth hit the New York Times Bestseller List the following year, sold over 350,000 copies, and influenced thousands to live closer to nature and make things from scratch.

In 2000, the book was published again in a 30th anniversary revised edition, and Alicia, now a professional musician, drove around the United States in a van for eight months, singing the songs she wrote alongside the original book at her booksignings. This CD is Alicia singing her songs, which richly evoke the spirit of the period much as the book does.

Alicia learned the open tunings she plays on guitar directly from John Fahey, who was married to her cousin Jan Lebow when Alicia was in her 'teens. West coast jazz also filled her ears growing up in Los Angeles, and some songs evidence this influence as well. The lyrics reflect a love of all things spiritual and natural, of honesty, freedom, simplicity and gratitude. The final piece is a choral rendition of the first piece, arranged by Alicia's longtime friend and musical mentor, Ramon Sender, the co-author of the sequel book, Being of the Sun.



to write a review

Stanton Swihart

Beautiful, rejuvenating, refreshing, pure, sweet, wise, unconventional, lyrical
The debut recording from Alicia Bay Laurel comes after a 30-year apprenticeship in everything from folk to jazz, Brazilian, and Hawaiian music (in addition to a career as an acclaimed author and illustrator), and it is a beautiful and rejuvenating catharsis of a record. It is a thankful piece of work, refreshing and pure, full of sweet naiveté but also a kind of undiluted wisdom and a strong sense of self-awareness, best exemplified by one song, "Oh Sweet Self." The songs were written in Laurel's commune days, during which she was writing the original version of her bestseller Living on the Earth, chiefly between 1968 and 1975. All but one of the songs, though, were recorded over a two-month period at the beginning of 2000 by Laurel with just her guitar playing as accompaniment. As simple as the pleasures of the music are, however, this is not simple music. This is a quintessentially folk album, but not a standard one. It betrays strong elements of jazz and even hints of gospel, and Laurel displays some fabulously fingerpicked acoustic blues passages throughout, especially on songs like "Chard & Chives," the jazzy autobiography-in-song "Nineteen Sixty-Six," and the instrumental "Sky Blues." In addition, the influence of Indian culture shows up not only in the classical "Vai Raga" but also in the folk-raga hybrid instrumental of "Waterwheel" and some of the leitmotifs of "Mandala." Many of the songs utilize tricky and unconventional open and modal tunings, all expertly managed by Laurel. The songs stand well on their own, but work even better as complements to and invocations of Living on the Earth. Lyrically, there is a concerted slant towards the communal/hippie themes that were so endemic to the period during which all the songs were written: love, nature, freedom, understanding, spirituality, compassion, voluntary simplicity. "Chard & Chives," for instance, is an innocent ode to gardening that soon extends to the larger ideals of living in and with nature, and then to the importance of growing into one's life. The wonderful "Hang Out & Breathe" offers gentle rural charms and serves as a sort of folk meditation on Ram Dass' tenet, "Be here now." And the a cappella "Rain" is a straightforward celebration of the cleansing properties of the title subject. But these ideals also happen to be universal themes, many of them still, unfortunately, lacking in the world, rendering the songs just as relevant as the day on which they were composed. The album appropriately closes with the 40-voice choir version of "In the Morning" recorded live in the 1970s by the Occidental Community Choir from choral arrangements made by friend, mentor, and avant-garde composer Ramon Sender. The solo folk version that opens the album is a gorgeous awakening to our common humanity, and a lovely way to bring the music to commencement. But when the 40 voices join in the end, the song turns into a transcendent prayer. It seems to break from its strictures, wander out into the early light of day, and mingle with the living earth where it can breath, before rising up toward the heavens, a gift. Many of the songs on Music From Living On The Earth, in fact, seem like small, tranquil gifts.


I also like her artworks of this CD.

Brandy Childress

Your music and book is a great inspiration to our family.