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Day After Tomorrow
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IT has been quite a while since the ethereal soprano that thrilled Joan Baez's early audiences made way for an earthier alto, and her voice has mellowed further over the decades. It remains a captivating instrument, but on studio recordings during the past couple of decades it has invariably been mixed too low and, as a result, overwhelmed by the orchestration. Day After Tomorrow demonstrates the folly of that technique: here the vocals are accorded the primacy they deserve and complemented by exquisitely balanced acoustic accompaniment. Add to that the most sublime bunch of songs to have graced a Baez disc since the mid-1970s, and the result is an outstanding addition to her oeuvre. The achievement can be credited in part to Steve Earle, who not only produced the album but contributed 30 per cent of the songs, including the opening and closing tracks, God is God and Jericho Road. They are both formidable songs in the vein of Christmas in Washington, but neither of them is quite as poignant as the gently anti-war title track, penned by Tom Waits, and Baez's take on Elvis Costello and T-Bone Burnett's Scarlet Tide is equally arresting. She has consistently been supportive of younger songwriters (including B.Read more ›
political sense on this album, the 24th studio recording of her now
50 year long career. This collection of 10 songs provides much for
the head & heart to think and feel.
With the use of only acoustic instruments, the album provides an echo
of Joan's early folk records. The difference in this record is how
diverse the ensemble of instruments is: guitar, mandolin, Hawaiian
guitar, resonator guitar, bouzouki, harmonium, tamboura, bass, drums,
tambourine, fiddle, Dobro, banjolin, and percussion. The musical
accompaniment provided by Steve Earle (also producer, & harmony
vocals), Tim O'Brien, Darrell Scott, Viktor Krauss, and Kenny Malone,
is one of the many highlights of this album.
The songs' timeless lyrics place it among Joan's most folk /
Americana oriented albums. The album contains a strong spiritual
thread, a topic Joan has touched upon from her earliest recordings.
The songs have been chosen from several different brilliant writers,
including Patty Griffin, Tom Waits / Kathleen Brennan, Thea Gilmore,
Eliza Gilkyson, Elvis Costello / T-Bone Burnett, Diana Jones, and
Steve Earle himself. It is amazing how Joan & company pull the work
of such a diverse group together so beautifully.
There are political themes touched upon in this record, including
anti-war sentiment. The topic is explored quite movingly, less
directly you might say than on Joan's earlier albums, through the
timeless (and timely) masterpiece compositions "Scarlet Tide", and
the album's title song "Day After Tomorrow".Read more ›
Joan Baez and Steve Earle are an interesting combination indeed. This wasn't the match I'd have picked, but they work beautifully together. Earle adds an earthy touch to Baez that fits her deeper, lower voice.
Baez and Earle have done a splendid job picking a lineup of songs from the best of today's composers.
"Requiem", which was written and sung originally by the amazingly talented Eliza Gilkyson, was originally written for the tsunami, but the words reflect the pain we've recently experienced from the hurricanes as well.
Of course, there would be a song about Iraq. The title song, "Day After Tomorrow" written by Tom Waits, is one of the strongest narratives of what it's like to be a soldier.
You'd think mining songs wouldn't be that topical anymore. "Henry Russell's Lament" which is the story of a trapped miner, will break your heart.
"Jericho Road" is another winner. It's a minimalist Gospel ballad with a lead and responding chorus that will instill the song in your memory for years to come.
My only gripe is at 37 minutes and 10 songs, this CD ends too soon and feels a bit short for me.
Rebecca Kyle, September 2008
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If I could fly I would go to CA to see my 4th Baez concert. Considering Amtrak, a 3-4 day trip from S.W.Fl, she's that good. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kirsten M. Blair
I was a huge Joan Baez fan, for her voice, songs, personality, and social activism. I haven't heard her for years and thought that I'd catch up. Read morePublished 8 months ago by John A. Lefcourte
I believe this is the latest release from Joan. I expect her albums to be really wonderful, and I was not
disappointed with Day After Tomorrow! Read more
I was disappointed in two of my favorite singer-songwriters. Joan Baez has been a hero of mine for years. Steve Earle is a more recent discovery for me . Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
Her voice is still as good as it was, good album but lost something in its studio recordingPublished 14 months ago by Arthur