Chris Alan and Stefan des Lauriers | Carousel Wind

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United States - New Jersey

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Pop: Folky Pop Spiritual: Contemporary Gospel Moods: Featuring Piano
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Carousel Wind

by Chris Alan and Stefan des Lauriers

acoustic folk pop
Genre: Pop: Folky Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Carousel Wind
3:59 $0.99
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2. Sweeping the Fog Away
2:31 $0.99
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3. Handful of Stars
3:42 $0.99
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4. Beyond Our Galaxy
3:37 $0.99
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5. Walls
3:33 $0.99
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6. Ball of White and Blue
3:26 $0.99
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7. Imaginary Mountain
2:50 $0.99
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8. Golden Footprints
2:47 $0.99
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9. Tiger Swallowtail
2:41 $0.99
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10. Masterpiece of Heart
4:22 $0.99
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11. Messenger's Lament
4:16 $0.99
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12. Fill the World With Song
4:33 $0.99
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13. Sunflowers
3:28 $0.99
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14. Blue Whale Blues
4:29 $0.99
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15. A Miracle America
3:36 $0.99
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16. One Too Many Rungs
4:22 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The Musical Spin on Carousel Wind

Chris Alan and Stefan des Lauriers flew to Toronto to record Stefan's songs at Ken Whiteley's Casa Wroxton Studio. Produced by Ken Whiteley, the CD features Ken playing several instruments, such as acoustic guitar, string bass, banjo, mandolin, autoharp, organ and ukulele. Arriving on a Monday morning, the last week of May; they went straight to session and started with "Carousel Wind," the title track.

"Carousel Wind" is a song about a lonely girl who sat day after day daydreaming beside the carousel at the Garden State Plaza, in Paramus, New Jersey. The song features Chris doing vocals and piano, with Ken on acoustic guitar and bass. Here Chris's piano playing is somewhat reminiscent of Joni Mitchel's style on "River."

Chris would play a song once on the Wurlitzer baby grand, then Ken would suggest which instrument to accompany him on the "bed" track - such as guitar, accordion, autoharp or banjo. Most of the songs were recorded this way, in one or two takes, giving the CD a uniquely spontaneous quality. The ability of Ken and Chris to improvise on the fly reached its peak in the "dueling" banjo and piano ending of "Imaginary Mountain."

On a few songs Stefan taught his guitar arrangement to Ken, so that the song could be faithful to the way it was written. "Masterpiece of Heart" was recorded with just guitar and vocals, and "Tiger Swallowtail" was Chris accompanying himself; whipping up a piano interlude that suggested a butterfly's flight.

"Sweeping the Fog Away" is a tribute to Stefan's grandfather, a part time vaudeville entertainer who performed one last soft shoe routine for his grandchildren, just months before being hospitalized with cancer. Ken played Stefan's guitar arrangement on a Gibson L1 (as well as ukulele, string bass and brushes) to get an authentic sound. As with all but one song Chris did the vocals on this track

"One Too Many Rungs" is a funny song where Stefan sings and goes into a talking blues about his fictitious summer job as an assistant to the Lion Tamer. The song has Chris on piano and background vocals, with Ken on banjo, string bass and jaw harp.

By Wednesday sixteen songs had been recorded. On Thursday, Chris went sightseeing, while Stefan stayed on with Ken adding bass and other instruments. They finished with Chris and Ken doing background vocals Friday afternoon, taking a last minute cab to their flight back to New Jersey.

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Reviews


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Jerry Lavala

Reminds me of Carol King's Tapestry
When I first heard the first piano chords on the title track "Carousel Wind" I thought I was listening to my good old Carol King album Tapestry, and I was pleasantly surprised that this whole album has the same genuine feel to it.
There is a spontaneous freshness to this CD which is pretty rare these days. So far, I've listened to this CD about 50 times, and my favorite tracks are Carousel Wind and Handful of Stars.
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John Chamley

If I paid cash for this CD, I would NOT feel ripped off
I received a copy of Carousel Wind in exchange for giving a guitar lesson to Stefan's son. To get my money's worth I played the CD constantly in my car. After a few times through I found myself enjoying it. Also, my 11 & 9 year olds liked it and my 4 yr old was singing along with some words that she doesn't even understand. Stefan's songs have lyrics that you don't need to be afraid of, even if you do understand them! They also have depth and subliminal messages embeded into the piano tracks that suggest listeners to always be truthful. I told Stefan I liked the CD and he asked me to review it online, but said to only give it 4 stars, or everyone will realize that we are friends.

Since everyone knows that already, I'm giving 5 because this CD represents something more than just great story songs with good values: It represents passing on those values to the next generation represented by the really talented young singer Chris Alan. Having heard Stefan sing some of those songs in person, I can't help but imagine his voice on those tracks. But Chris, who has a terrific voice and is a super musician, adds his own style and freshness to the songs.

Even if I paid cash for this CD, I would NOT feel ripped off. In fact compared to a gallon of gas, this CD gets incredible milage and does not pollute the atmosphere. Just buy it and you will be all the better for it. I can't believe I wrote this! It must be those piano tracks! JC
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Gerry Servito

Remarkable music, grabs the ears, grabs the heart
I've been listening to this album at least twice daily, on the morning and evening commute, for the last several days. It turned out to be that rare kind of work that demands to be listened to intently. And the more I do, I'm struck by the music, the musicianship, and the level of collaboration that's increasingly evident.
As to the music, it's not background music: the melodies and accompaniments are subtle and rich, the lyrics are demanding, the delivery is soulful, and the seemingly simple instrumentation is very colorful and imaginative.
Mr. DesLauriers tunes take sometimes surprising musical turns. And the lyrics can stand alone as poetry: I found myself replaying songs in order to hear lines and verses, string them together and speculate about what else could be the meanings besides the obvious. And found that all the "big" things in life are being addressed here, in a manner that made me consider what I've done or am doing with my own life.
As to the musicianship, Chis Alan’s renditions are far beyond interpretation: it’s uncanny that he can deliver music & lyrics about a lifetime with such seemingly effortless grace and empathy. His playing of his 2 instruments - his piano, and his voice - are arresting studies in eloquent, heartfelt craftsmanship. And Whitley's arrangements and employment of the expressiveness of different instruments (banjo, Hammond organ, guitars, steel guitar, bass, brushes, flute, etc) were often delightful surprises.

Despite the tasty and sometimes whimsical arrangements, this is - in the end - not just easy listening. It's also poignant and sometimes unsettling; a remarkably generous gift of unexpected depth from 3 very gifted collaborators. It's one of the smaller group CDs I own that step over the edge of great enjoyable music into the realm of art. I can easily see playing this CD years and years from now, and still getting entertainment and inspiration from it. This CD is a quiet, precious gem, a real keeper.
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marg elliot

wonderful cd
I knew Stephan from high school and decided to take a chance. WOW - was I totally impressed. Loved the whole CD. Wonderful driving music and thoughtful words!

Really enjoyed the spaceman song!! I wish you could see the world the way I see it . .. The vocals are absolutely wonderful and romantic - what a wonderful gift for someone to have or give to a friend. The words and music are just off-the-chart!! Stephan, never knew you would have such a special talent and gift for putting everything together. LOVED IT TOTALLY
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