IRA MAYER, FORMER MUSIC EDITOR OF THE NYPOST GIVES THE PROJECT ITS FIRST WRITE-UP
by Ira Mayer
When most music artists produce boxed sets the collections are typically their own greatest hits, deeper-cut retrospectives, re-mastered reissues, alternate takes, unreleased tracks, and so on. The sets are often elaborately packaged, with book or other items.
Christine Lavin’s “The Seasons Project” reflects her career not so much as the wonderful songwriter and performer she is (see my comments on the house concert Chris did for us in February 2020) but rather as the indefatigable booster of other folk-rooted musicians. As I’ve told her over the years, she’s a great marketer — of others, too modest in some ways to promote herself as vociferously.
Example: With 80 tracks here, only three are hers. Of the 69 soloists and groups included, Chris introduced me to the music of eight of them since we met in the 1980s. I’ve never heard of 27 and while I’m not exposed to as much as I was when writing for newspapers regularly, I’m clearly not listening widely enough. This is a great corrective.
There are four albums here, one loosely themed or simply mood-appropriate for each season. Those familiar with Chris’s work over the long term will recognize “On A Winter’s Night” and “When October Goes,” compilations she curated in the 1990s. They’ve been remastered and each has at least one new track. The all-new spring set is “Coming Alive Again;” summer, also new, is collected on “Last Song For You.”
I’m still going back through and discovering memorable voices, lyrics, and melodies. In five hours of music, I haven’t come across a track that I’d skip next time. Chris’s taste is THAT good and wide-ranging.
As for the packaging, the four “albums” arrive on a handcrafted thumb drive packed in a wood box made by Ukrainian box builder Mykhailo Chaban. The book? It’s a 480-page PDF with Chris’s commentary, bios of all the musicians, lyrics, and photos, on the thumb drive.
The limited edition collection is available only on her website. I hope she has cause to manufacture more. Says Chris, “I created this collection with an eye firmly fixed on the future — expecting 50-100 years from now folklorists will find it useful.” Useful, yes, and inspiring, not just for folklorists, and not just in the future.
[80 songs, 5 hours of music in wav and mp3 formats, PDF 480 page liner notes on mostly American singer/songwriters, though a few Canadians, Brits, and a lone Irishman: $100]
Who is on this compilation?
Lili Añel Les Barker Robin Batteau Annie Bauerlein & Chip Mergott Hugh Blumenfeld Susie Burke David Buskin Buskin & Batteau Daniel Cainer Frank Christian Judy Collins Lui Collins Cliff Eberhardt & Richie Havens Hilary Field Sally Fingerett John Flynn Jane Godfrey Julie Gold Kat Goldman Raymond Gonzalez & Amy Malkoff John Gorka Kyle Hancharick Priscilla Herdman, Anne Hills, Cindy Mangsen & Steve Gillette Si Kahn Lucy Kaplansky Judy Kass David LaMotte Patty Larkin Christine Lavin Jaspar LepakRod MacDonald Mad Agnes Trio David Mallett Maude Maggart Peter Mayer John McCutcheon Megon McDonough Lynn Miles Bill Morrissey Louise Mosrie Coombe Tom Neilson Willie Nininger Barry Oreck Declan O’Rourke Art Podell Andrew Ratshin Hillary Rollins & Kevin Kelso, Tina Ross David Roth Gail Rundlett Finnie Maria Sangiolo Cosy Sheridan Richard Shindell June Tabor Chris & Meredith Thompson Dave Van Ronk Cheryl Wheeler Kenny White David Wilcox Dar Williams
Here's a live performance by that lone Irishman, Declan O'Rourke, with the Irish National Orchestra. Just a sampling of the kind of music you'll hear.
"We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea" LIVE (studio version is on The Seasons Project - Summer)
- Jeff Daniels sent me two brand new songs -- they are played first and set the tone for the rest of the show: SINGERS & SONGWRITERS breaking new ground
- Sunday, January 7th, from 7-10 PM Eastern time, live and free on your computer screen
- It's now or never, and since you're on my web list, I'm only letting you know how close to the end we are
- OMG -- THIS IS ANOTHER FANTASTIC WRITE-UP, BUT THIS TIME FROM THE BROADWAY COMMUNITY -- NOW LESS THAN 100 UKRAINIAN BOXES & BAMBOO THUMB DRIVES FOR SALE
- Congratulations to everyone who trusted me to include their song in this project!
- IRA MAYER, FORMER MUSIC EDITOR OF THE NYPOST GIVES THE PROJECT ITS FIRST WRITE-UP
- The Seasons Project is in Shenzhen, China right now!
- I finally did it -- All four seasons -- a "boxed set" -- 80 songs, 63 songwriters . . . coming in time for the holidays
- At the end of "French Toast Bread Pudding," Dame Edna pretends she's my upstairs neighbor whose "inner megastar is hungry, possum! Quick sticks!"
- I was invited to Yankee Stadium by one of the team owners, so I brought along as my +1 the most ardent Yankee fan I know: DAVID IPPOLITO
- Buskin & Batteau & Friends (Christine Lavin, John Forster, Shanna In A Dress, Marshal Rosenberg & a special surprise guest!)
- Two videos for "Buskin & Batteau & Friends" in NYC on Saturday at 2 PM, and in New England 4/21 and 4/26