donderdag 19 juli 2018

Carnivals & Other Tragedies. Marshall

A very serious voice sounds out. A kind of voice I haven't heard since somewhere in the 70s, usually belonging to a singer that aimed for an audience older than the teenage version me. It doesn't come as a shock that Marshall Hjertstedt is about my age. His music has the seriousness and contemplation that can come with age. What did surprise me is that Carnivals & Other Tragedies is only Marshall's first album (after two locally released albums).

The album has only seven songs and all are more or less in the same register. So seven songs is the right number for me. In the songs the acoustic guitar of Marshall is the centre. Around it a band is formed. The fiddle is the most dominant of the instruments, the harmony vocals the most live part. The other instruments are all in service of the song. And songs Marshall presents us with.

Promo photo
There's nothing going at it. All is laid back with a message or two for the rest of the world on offer. I'm reminded of Tim Hardin, David Crosby and a few other singers of the day more than once. Marshall finds his way between them and can claim his own spot with ease. With me being older, it is not hard to appreciate what he is doing on this record.

"I'm to old, so I'm told, to be a dreamer", Marshall sings in 'Merry-Go-Round'. This record simply proves all those non (or cynical ex-)dreamers wrong. There's hope for all of us. If Marshall can release his first international record, why do all of us not do what we dream of? It takes one thing though: get out of your chair behind those geraniums and start fulfilling them, write, create, invent, paint, etc, that something you dream of. Now!

Promo Photo
Carnivals & Other Tragedies presents exactly the right amount of variation on the album to keep my attention on the music. Following the soft 'Make It Right' 'The Devil Is In The Details' rocks out in a modest way. The difference gives the album the vibrant touch it needs to convince. (Although the too neat 'The River', the final song, is a bit too much or rather too little, for me.)

Yes, Carnivals & Other Tragedies will not attract any youngsters, but all who enjoy a good, melodic singer-songwriter album as they were made in the 70s should listen to it. There's a lot on offer here that will make you remember and even reach out to those albums of old, probably stacked away in the attic together with your gramophone. It will also do something else. It will find it's rightful place among those records. Now here's a win-win.


You can listen to and buy Carnivals & Other Tragedies here:

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