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Watch The Sky

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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"Traveling alone is a wonderful thing," sings Patty Larkin on her first album of original material in five years. She means it. As producer, mixer, writer, and the only musician involved, Larkin embarks on as much a solo project as you can get. The veteran folkie plays everything from bass to baritone guitar, banjo, and bazouki on these 12 introspective tracks. Some, like "Hallelujah" and the opening "Phone Message," are driven by subtle, loping drum loops. Everything is overdubbed, including Larkin’s lovely, dusky singing, but there is never an insular feel to this atmospheric set. With its bubbling percussion, dissonant bluesy slide guitar, and spooky vibe, "Beautiful" tells of walking in a park with a somewhat ominous musical undercurrent to lyrics that infer, but don’t specify, impending danger. Larkin plays more conventional folk guitar on "Dear Heart," but on the most arresting songs, she pushes and prods the sound--and her layered vocals--in more experimental, less traditional directions. The tinge of Billie Holiday even creeps into her voice on "Walking in my Sleep," one of the project’s most compelling moments. This music demands time and attention. It unravels gracefully and gradually, repeated spins yielding previously hidden details that drift over the listener like a humid fog on a summer’s morning. --Hal Horowitz
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 22, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vanguard
  • ASIN: B000ZJ2ZN6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,179 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
இ Fuzzy Wuzzy's Summary:
ѾѾѾѾѾ Highly recommended with warm fuzzies!

I would include "Watch the Sky" right up there with "Perishable Fruit", "Strangers World", and "Angels Running" as my favorite albums. This new album certainly has a wider variety of song compositions and stylings than what she has released before. The electric Fender Telecaster is used more here, and some songs stray over into funky blues, Eastern European stylings (on the "Phone Message" composition), and other one-offs that she tosses into the overdubbings that make it, both with the interesting aural textures and quirky lyrics, a Patty Larkin song.

More than any other of her previous releases, this album alternates between dreamy or haunting songs (like "Cover Me", "All Souls Day", and the "Bound Brook" instrumental), traditional folk, and what could probably be labeled more as "Adult Contemporary" (even though I am not really sure what that genre really encompasses). The folk purist might eschew the use of electric guitars on a folk album or (gasp!) the use of drum loops and electronic sound loops overdubbed together, but I do think that it all feels right at home here and I applaud Patty's experimental inclinations to stretch herself into different areas.

I just saw Patty play live here in town last night, accompanied by her acoustic 6-string, bazouki, and Fender Telecaster. When she started into her "Phone Message" song, first she started the triphop/trance drum loop, and when she started playing her bazouki before singing, it felt like the kind of hip instrumental that you might hear walking into a nightclub in Eastern Europe.
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Format: Audio CD
I found this album an improvement over Patty Larkin's previous two solo albums and La Guitarra.

It still isn't up to the standard of her four Windham Hill albums and A Gogo. I still rank Perishable Fruit and Angels Running as among my favorite albums of all time.

I never warmed up to Regrooving the Dream or Red=Luck. After three listenings, I'm starting to like Watch the Sky.
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Format: Audio CD
Veteran singer-songwriter Larkin turns in an incredibly well-rounded effort here: Americana pop that stays true to its roots but also updates itself with some well-chosen synthetic beats. What's more, she wrote, played and produced everything you hear on this disc. And she scores on every count: the writing is more than competant, the production is crystal clear, and the playing is very accomplished -- for those keeping count, that's twelve different instruments she plays. Her singing voice is a strong alto, perhaps roughly the same range as Melissa Ethridge, but clear and without any faux-huskyness. Though this recording appears on Vanguard, a hallmark folks label, Larkin shouldn't be pigeon-holed: she blends elements of folk, roots and pop into something that is new and irredcuible to any of them. She shows up a lot of lesser talents (Sheryl Crow comes easily to mind) and holds her own in a long line of singer-songwriters going back to, whom, Joan Baez(?) and ahead from there to Bonnie Raitt, Tracy Chapman and Lucinda Williams.
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The excellence of Patty Larkin's music continues in this collection. She seems to thrive on trying and experimenting in a great variety of musical forms. I have a few of her earlier albums and some songs from those are ones that appear in all of my playlists. Unfortunately, this album didn't have anything in it that stays in my head and pleases me the way some of her others have, despite being very good compositions very well performed - just not my taste. In the experimentation and diversity it reminds me a little of Kate Bush in the 80s. I just wish I liked what she's playing.
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Once again, Patty Larkin has produced a wonderful CD. I confess that listening to it the first few times, I couldn't pick up much that was interesting in the songs, in that many of the chords are ones she's used in her last few CDs. I've listened to those CDs so many times. But I kept playing it and began to hear what is unique in each song. Each song is beautiful, with truly poetic and often smart lyrics and chords/melodies/rhythms that are sometimes haunting, sometimes happy, often unique to her music. Probably to the listener who is not such an ardent fan, the expectations will be less high than my own and the quality of this music will be easier to appreciate. I can't wait to hear her play in Virginia this week. What is different about this album for her is that she plays all the instruments and sings all the harmonies herself. She apologizes for the imperfections in the quality of the sound recording--also homemade. Nothing to apologize for.
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Format: Audio CD
Great compositions... Patty's music is such high quality listening. She remains one of my favorite singer songwriters and, i think, the best guitar player/composer in the genre. I'm thrilled the ny times raved about this CD last week. She's crafted her art and produced such unique and intelligent work for years. I'm sure this one will spread her large fan base even further...i'm looking forward to hearing this live. she tours a lot. check out her site.
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