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Blind Lemon Pledge | Backwoods Glance

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Folk: Alternative Folk Country: Country Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Backwoods Glance

by Blind Lemon Pledge

An eclectic mix of original folk, country and Americana styles, taking the listener on a musical tour of American music from jugband romps to somber folk melodies to heartbreaking ballads, with stops at Cajun and Gospel along the way,
Genre: Folk: Alternative Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Polly Come Out (feat. Tom Cline, Peter Grenell, Cal Keaoola, Marisa Malvino & John Pearson)
2:58 $0.99
2. The Hills of West Virginia (feat. Marisa Malvino & John Pearson)
4:19 $0.99
3. Sisters of the Coal Dust (feat. Tom Cline, Peter Grenell, Marisa Malvino & John Pearson)
4:33 $0.99
4. Moon over Memphis (feat. Peter Grenell, Marisa Malvino & Jimi Edwards)
4:12 $0.99
5. Lynchburg Town (feat. Tom Cline, Peter Grenell, Cal Keaoola, Marisa Malvino & John Pearson)
3:48 $0.99
6. Fayetteville (feat. Tom Cline, Peter Grenell, Cal Keaoola, Marisa Malvino & John Pearson)
4:40 $0.99
7. Silver Wings (feat. Tom Cline, Peter Grenell, Cal Keaoola, John Pearson & Jimi Edwards)
5:09 $0.99
8. Sweet Celine (feat. Peter Grenell, Marisa Malvino & John Pearson)
2:51 $0.99
9. Carolina Kiss (feat. Tom Cline, Peter Grenell, Cal Keaoola, Marisa Malvino, John Pearson & Jimi Edwards)
5:21 $0.99
10. Sunset (feat. Peter Grenell, Cal Keaoola, Marisa Malvino & John Pearson)
3:53 $0.99
11. Ma Belle Cherie (feat. Tom Cline, Peter Grenell, Cal Keaoola, Marisa Malvino & John Pearson)
4:04 $0.99
12. Give My Poor Heart Ease (feat. Tom Cline, Peter Grenell, Cal Keaoola, Marisa Malvino & Jimi Edwards)
5:08 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

“When you take your first couple names from a blues legend, you better do it right. Blind Lemon…does more than just do it right. He creates blues that can be haunting or hilarious, sad or happy…” “Blind Lemon Pledge certainly is a national treasure what with his ability as a songwriter, singer and musician. As a multi instrumentalist he has no peers and his song writing is so very engaging as he interprets our lives in song…””His unique and fascinating mix of country blues and lounge music has many influences. Country blues with a thoroughly modern touch. You can hear the traditional blues influences but there are plenty of pop/garage/grunge punk/jazz/americana/gospel and rock influence twists all over the place that make this music tres chic in 2016.” These are just a few of the rave reviews that Blind Lemon Pledge received for his 2016 album “Pledge Drive”, the internationally acclaimed collection of original Blues and Americana that captured the critics and ruled the airwaves with its wide range of styles and themes.

BLP is surprising listeners and critics again with his new collection “Backwoods Glance”, an exploration of the Folk, Americana and Country influences that contribute to the unique and eclectic song-writing talents that Pledge brings to his projects.

Although, on some past projects, multi-instrumentalist Blind Lemon Pledge has created some or all of the backing tracks himself, on “Backwoods Glance” he has assembled a team of his friends and fellow musicians to create an Americana band to accompany these tunes. With Pledge on vocals, guitars and harmonica, the album also features Tom Cline (dobro), Jimi Edwards (keyboards, percussion), Pledge’s regular bassist Peter Grenell, world class violinist/fiddler and band member Cal Keaoola, singer Marisa Malvino (harmonies and lead vocal) and John Pearson on cajon, djembe and percussion. Says Pledge, “It was great fun to record with musicians I love and respect. And I really needed a solid Americana band to do justice to these tunes.”

The first number, “Polly Come Out”, immediately establishes the new directions that BLP takes on this release. Evoking the easy swing of Country Line Dancing, “Polly” is a playful tune about love and courtship under the “summer moon”. Says Pledge, “I was picturing an old fashioned hoe-down and guys and gals in calico and dungarees promenading in the soft country night.”

The album takes a hard right turn into the haunting “Hills of West Virginia”. This is a pure guitar-driven folk song accompanied by a spooky slide guitar solo. BLP creates a story about the hardship of coal miners in the Appalachias, facing closed mines and disappearing fathers. “I love those old ballads and songs like Jean Ritchie or Hazel Dickens sing. They have a melancholy feel and great stories to them. I tried to capture that feel in this song.” This song signals the themes of American country life that will dominate the tenor of the album.

On “Sisters of the Coal Dust”, Pledge enlists the help of his good friend and musical compatriot Marisa Malvino to sing the lead on this moving tale that continues the theme of life in the Appalachia coal country. Inspired by the documentary “Harlan County USA”, this ballad tells the story of the wives and sisters of the coal miners rising up to challenge the management of the mines and protest the loss of their “sons and husbands.” Says Pledge, “This is the first song I have written directly from a woman’s point of view. And I felt I needed a great woman singer to carry the message.” As well as the lead on “Sisters”, Ms. Malvino delivers beautiful harmonies throughout the rest of the album.

“Moon Over Memphis” is a classic love song in waltz time with a lovely country feel. Sparsely produced with guitar, piano, bass and percussion the song explores the sadness of lost love. “I saw a photo on Facebook titled ‘The moon over Memphis’ and immediately got the idea for this song,” says BLP. This song begins a four song arc of songs about specific cities and towns.

“Lynchburg Town” has a very Dylanesque quality with a repeating harmonica riff that drives the chorus forward. This song, with its story of unemployment, further illuminates the themes of loss and redemption that inform many of the songs on the album.

Next up, “Fayetteville” exemplifies Pledge’s superb storytelling ability with a song about homelessness sketched out in a few poignant lines. The song is enhanced with a beautifully compelling solo by Cal Keaoola on violin.

Yet another musical style is highlighted in the harmonically rich folk rock number “Silver Wings”. With a complex and unexpected structure, the song tells the story of two protagonists leaving their old lives behind them to chase their dreams in Hollywood. “The original version of this song was much darker,” explains Pledge. “But once I was finished with the first draft, the uplifting chorus won out and I edited out the dark stuff to make it an anthem about hopes and dreams. I am glad I did.” With rich harmonies and a compelling story the song rides along on a wave of melody and ends in a rising coda.

“Sweet Celine” is all fun. With overtones of an old fashioned jug band “Celine” bounces off harmonica and slide guitar with a bluesy riff that is pure love song – ”Sweet Celine, I love the way she calls my name.” This song initiates a three number arc of love songs.

Another folk rock oriented number follows with “Sunset”. A compelling rhythm and driving guitar figure provides impetus to a story about a lover returning to reclaim the love he left behind. A slide guitar and violin duet provide the solo passages for this tune. “This is one of the oldest songs on the record. I always wanted to record it, but like the other tunes on this album it would not fit on a Blues record. I am glad I finally could do it some justice.”

Another poignant song about lost love can be found in “Carolina Kiss”. With a complex keyboard accompaniment provided by Jimi Edwards, the song is a pure Country ballad with a surprising coda and an almost “classical” violin solo. Typical of Blind Lemon Pledge’s hard to pinpoint style, the rich melody combines with evocative poetry (“the soft da Vinci lines of her face”) to create a melancholy song about memories and regrets.

Highlighting Blind Lemon Pledge’s deft handling of myriad styles, “Ma Belle Cherie” detours into Cajun Country with a fiddle driven romp about young love and lust. “I love Cajun music and always wanted to write a Zydeco tune. This song idea came to me one day when I was remembering a trip I had made several years ago to Bayou country.” Once again Cal Keaoola’s wonderful violin helps bring the song to new heights.

The album ends with the heartbreaking Southern Gospel number “Give My Poor Heart Ease”. As with the opening tune, both the dobro and the violin are given solo space to wrap up this Americana journey. “I have been writing a number of Gospel songs over the last few years and have been thinking about doing a whole Gospel album some day. Until then, this song will do.”

This final detour into the Southern Gospel style completes the musical journey through the heartland of America that is the album “Backwoods Glance”. Once again Blind Lemon Pledge has shown the mastery of styles, melody and lyrics that is the hallmark of his unique songwriting and production.



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