Bone Poets Orchestra | Belladonna Smiles

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Beatles Strawberry Fields era Jethro Tull Moody Blues

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Belladonna Smiles

by Bone Poets Orchestra

Thirteen tasty tunes wrapped in a delicious groove with a chewy psychedelic center, spinning through the universe gathering light. Top the great rhythm section with a beatle-esque string trio and CSN style harmonies.
Genre: Rock: Psychedelic
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Rising
4:24 $0.99
2. Spin
3:20 $0.99
3. Smells Like Rain
3:47 $0.99
4. Pleasure of the Sky
5:27 $0.99
5. Scarborough Fair
5:59 $0.99
6. Interlude at Sunset
1:47 $0.99
7. Belladonna Smiles
5:33 $0.99
8. It All Disappears
5:25 $0.99
9. Pennies for Our Eyes
4:30 $0.99
10. Yes!
4:17 $0.99
11. Christmas Down South
4:12 $0.99
12. Gathering Light
4:59 $0.99
13. Bodies at Midnight
5:07 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Once upon a time a band called Gaia Consort swallowed it's tail, embraced it's progressive rock roots and became Bone Poets Orchestra. BPO sounds like Ian Anderson hung out with the Beatles for awhile when John was writing Strawberry Fields, took some tips from Peter Gabriel and stole the Moody Blues mellotron.

It's all been driven by lead singer / composer Christopher Bingham who was raised on show tunes through his 60s childhood and passed the acid test in early 1970s St Louis, where the airwaves were filled with the golden age progressive rock, before it became the corporate commercial Spinal Tap parody of itself. Think Yes, Aphroditie's Child, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Nektar, Camel, Led Zep. When bands like Boston, Kansas, Peter Frampton started having hits, progressive rock was over. Bingham dove into acoustic stuff and eventually left St Louis to study jazz in the Pacific Northwest.

All through the 80s, Bingham wanted to be some mix of Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Cockburn, Sting and Kate Bush. He started seriously putting out records in the early 90s, which were blended folk and jazz, but really found his voice when he started Gaia Consort. in 1997. Pagans loved it, but after four records, it seemed the granola crunchiness of the name was scaring away a lot of people who would otherwise give the music a spin.

So! - a new name, Bone Poets Orchestra became a chance to explore different textures and the old joys from his acid drenched childhood, but all filtered through 30 years of revolutions in every musical style ever dreamed of and all available instantly. What do you write after you've heard Peter Gabriel, Afro Celt Sound System, Trilian Green, Delhi to Dublin, Soul Coughing and the main voice you have to work with is a sweet tenor?

Lyrically the poetry always comes back to celebrating the natural world: the earth, the sky the stuff that keeps us alive. "Rising" up again and again when it seems like the system or just the inevtiable conflicts in life knock us down.

"Spin" remembers what it was like to spin til you were dizzy and get caught up in the wonder.

"Smells Like Rain" (a first lead vocal of for Sue Tinney) catches that moment when you can smell the rain on the air, before the storm, when you know change is coming.

"Pleasure of the Sky" is made of loops from recordings of the geese that fly above Bingham's Snohomish Washington home - imagining them all saying "UP!" as they take off toward whatever bit of summer they're looking for along the way, coupled with the age old old dream of flying out past all the limits, the edge of the world, the old life. Mix it up with the old prog rock bottom heavy groove, stacks of harmonies and dreamy mellotron strings.

"Scarborough Fair" is in the middle of the mix because someone had to do something different with the tune and Bingham has made an arrangement like no other. When Bingham was growing up, ALL the bands were "jam bands."

"Interlude at Sunset" is a string trio instrumental piece that catches that quiet time as the evening sun is streaming through a window. It's pretty much an intro for the title track, "Belladonna Smiles." Belladonna is the seduction of the cliff edge, not knowing whether by jumping we'll learn to fly or just smash our selves on the rocks.

"It All Disappears" is based on one of those talks that come up when you're tripping - does the world disappear when you close your eyes and come back when you open them? The solipsists get their moment in the sun....

"Pennies for Our Eyes" takes on the fictional economy. "Loan us the pennies for our eyes, oh will you, undertaker?"

In "Yes!" Bingham writes about the kind of culture he'd like to live: a culture of open sexuality, a respect for honest promiscuity, the joy that we feel when we see our love in our other love's arms. It's a different life. Nobody needs to "put a ring on it."

"Christmas Down South" is bunch of double entendres. Send it to your mom for Christmas and smile as she hums it during Christmas dinner. It's not a Christmas song.

"Gathering Light" is what we're all doing here on this earth. If you've ever had a moment when you felt as if your body never ended and was made of light and you understood that you were made of the dust of the Big Bang, that you ARE the universe watching itself, watching as ity turns out those other "Bodies at Midnight," spinning together through space and time and learning something as we go that may be too big to understand in it's entirety. But we keep on spinning, regardless.

Christopher Bingham does the writing, sings lead and plays guitar, Sue Tinney sings harmony, Jay Kenny plays keys and co-produces and engineers all the recordings. Other world class players: Dan Mohler on bass, TJ Morris on drums topped with our incredible string trio: Larry Golding, violin, Sunnie Larsen, viola and our new to the band cellist, Danah Olivetree!

You can talk all day about the music, but hearing it is the only way to know whether it will hit you or not. Listen!



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The BPO evolution continues...