Birdsong at Morning
Annals of my Glass House
Blue Gentian Records
Take a Sunday morning and sit back. Enjoy the cool breeze against your skin as you sip your coffee. A cloudless sky greets the warming sun. You greet the morning with a smile. Birdsong at Morning greets this setting with the soundtrack. A four-disc, 25-song, two-hour soundtrack entitled Annals of My Glass House to be exact, that is ingenious in that it can provide the perfect background while challenging you to take a closer listen.
The discs are separated into four “chapters”: Bound, Heavens, Vigil, and Lumens. Each song was written by lead guitarist/songwriter/vocalist/Birdsong at Morning head honcho Alan Williams except four aptly-placed covers — one for each disc. You know they are going to be good because Williams has a Doctorate in Ethnomusicology from UMass-Lowell. This guy knows how to craft a song.
Every possible light pop angle is taken, from the fairly generic “Can’t Help Myself,” to the Celtic and string-enhanced “Light,” to the loneliness of “Roses,” to the atmospheric wonder of the entire second disc, especially the opener “Astronomy,” to… well, you get the point.
Blondie’s “Dreaming” closes the first disc while a subdued, yet powerful version of Rolling Stones’ “Moonlight Mile” finishes the second disc.
Williams channels his inner Gordon Lightfoot on the opener of the third disc, “Numbered Days,” while the orchestra-infused cover of King Crimson’s “Matte Kudasai” highlights this somber chapter.
Annals of My Glass House is not a set that can be fully appreciated in digital format. The songs are fantastic, but they are put into a better context when you look at the cover art of each disc, which contains photos from an unfinished memoir of 19th century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron with the same title. Seeing those classically beautiful and romantic photos and reading the lyric book while listening to the tracks makes this the most interactive release of 2011. It’s also the best adult contemporary album of the year so far. So grab your coffee and sink into Birdsong at Morning.
Birdsong at Morning: www.birdsongatmorning.com