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A Brian Eno accomplice looks to the pastoral past on The Grape and the Grain.
You can hear an audio version of this blog with Leo Abrahams’ music here.
Leo Abrahams is one of those musicians, you may not know, but you have heard him. He’s performed with singer Imogen Heap, alternative folk artist Ed Harcourt, played on the film score to Ocean’s 11 and appears on the latest Paul Simon CD, Surprise. That last one comes from a fortuitous meeting with ambient pioneer and producer, Brian Eno.
BRIAN ENO: I like him and his playing very much. I spotted him in a guitar shop trying out a guitar, the first guitar player I’ve ever seen in a guitar shop who wasn’t playing “Stairway to Heaven,” so I thought he must be good.
Eno invited Abrahams to his studio and he played on the album, Drawn from Life. They’ve worked together ever since, including a forthcoming collaboration with Herbie Hancock. But Abrahams also has his own music vision. Inspired by his work on the 2003 film score to Code 46 he created his own album, Honey Trap. Leo Abrahams can be an earbending experimenter as he is on the album, Scene Memory, but much of his music has a wistful charm. Abrahams, the ultimate modernist, says that comes from folk music.
LEO ABRAHAMS: I really love folk music. I love the honesty of it and the fact that it’s not really affected by fashion too much and that it’s not about the ego, you know, it’s more, it’s reaching out to something else which is, in popular music, I think quite a rare thing.
You can hear that sound on Leo Abrahams new CD, The Grape and the Grain. It’s a blissfully nostalgic album from a musician who has pushed the electric edges of his guitar. With hurdy-gurdy, cello and a medieval lute called the bandura, it sounds like pastoral music from another age. The Grape and the Grain is a quaint album, except for that electric guitar.
The Grape and the Grain is on the Just Music label. It’s the May CD of the Month on Echoes and we’ll be featuring that CD next week on the show. This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for new Music. You can read a complete review of The Grape and the Grain here.
John Diliberto ((( echoes )))
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