I'm not sure if I'd have actually chosen Kris Delmhorst's CD after just looking at the cover - which features a drawing of piles of books - or if I had read the album's brief "a celebratory meditation on art and its ability to speak across time and distance, with inspiration from the work of various well-known poets". However, I heard tracks from the album first and that drew me in, without knowing the rather lofty, literary inspiration for the music. Some of the songs feature poems set to music, while others just use poems for inspiration, with some of the poets in question being Byron, Masefield, James Weldon Johnson, e. e. cummings and Whitman.
The songs are a moody mix of folk, jazz and country that stand up completely on there own, with production by Kris, who also contributes vocals, acoustic guitar, fiddle, piano, cello and background vocals. This is a very consistent set of songs with some great playing from amongst others guitarist Kevin Barry and bass player Paul Kochanski and with Kris's voice soaring over the top. Although the album has an overall sound, there is a variety of different styles here, with "Light of the light" possibly being the most commercial, "Invisible choir" and "Everything is music" having a New Orleans flavour and "Tavern" being a loping slow blues with nice guitar and Hammond from Tom West.
This is a varied set of songs that work on a number of levels, they all sound great and sometimes on songs like "Sea fever" you suddenly think "hang on I know those words - I must go down to the sea again..." it's what's-is-name by thingy..." Despite what you may think it does all work and it works very well.