Howard Gladstone album release “Hourglass” + Sonic Peach Music record label launch Thursday October 5, 2017
Howard Gladstone is on a mission to direct the songs on his new album Hourglass to those in need of hope. It’s filled with the themes of loss, despair, hope, healing, recovery, the road, and the inevitability of fate, all viewed through the lens of passing time, and all symbolized in the hourglass. Focused intently on crafting powerful lyrics, and aiming to find their perfect union with melody, arrangement and musical accompaniment, Gladstone created songs that reflect a quiet despair, but are matched by hope-driven optimism.
Gladstone is no stranger to these ideas, since experiencing a sudden onset of spinal stenosis in 2014 that resulted in debilitating spinal surgery. At first he was totally paralyzed and completely immobile. It was a very gradual recovery, but after three years, he emerged with a greater passion, a higher level of commitment and inspiration, and a deeper understanding of the healing power of art and music.
Gladstone wrote and revised the songs before, during, and after his injury and rehabilitation. He loves the romance of the Latin influence, as evidenced in “Granada Nights,” a love song to the land of Andalucia in Spain, that interpolates simple folksong structure and features a captivating vocal passage sung in Spanish by Laura Fernandez; and in “Rider’s Song/Cordoba,”adapted from a work by Spanish poet and playwright Frederico Garcia Lorca, a flamenco treatment for a song about a rider carrying olives on the deadly road to Cordoba. Highlighted here is an entrancing vocal by Fernandez, while Tony Quarrington‘s solo sparkles intently.
More vocal charm is added in both “In The Moment,” with a sweet “la-la-la” harmony vocal refrain in the chorus. and “Still Got So Long to Go,” with a surprise appearance of a choir for the repeated choruses at the end.
“The Road Is Me” is a co-write with Quarrington, who also produced the record. Sporting a full-band treatment, it’s about the freedom and sometime loneliness of the road, and how “movin’ to keep movin'” made more sense at a younger age. Quarrington proves here, that he can rock out on electric as well as acoustic.
“My Heart Won’t Let Me Keep Still” is a song of dedication to moving forward, toward healing, no matter how challenging it may be, and how pain can be washed away as the river flows toward the sea. It features an unexpected and beautiful standup bass solo by George Koller.
A jazzy shuffle of a love song, “Never Thought You’d Call” showcases a harmony vocal from Fernandez, and an unlikely but perfect sitar in the distance, and as a counterpoint to the acoustic guitar solos. It shows how love can be such a surprise sometimes – and the song could just as well be about a deity as a beloved.
The album wouldn’t be complete without a signature Gladstone topical tune like “Seven Years to the Day,” which employs hefty drums (Great Bob Scott), bass, and a very present and tasty electric guitar, and describes the account of Hurricane Isaac attacking New Orleans exactly seven years after Katrina wrought her disaster on the city.
A sad, sweet, gorgeous duet between Gladstone and Fernandez on “When We Fall” where they sing separately at first and then together, is about trying to find a touch of grace as we face the fragility of life and the certainty of death.
MUSICIANS on the Album:
Howard Gladstone: vocal, acoustic guitar
Laura Fernandez: vocal
Tony Quarrington: guitars, mandolin, synthesizer, electric sitar, vocal
George Koller: stand-up bass
Great Bob Scott: drums (tracks 6-9)
Engineered and mastered by Peter J. Moore at MDI Productions and The “E” Room
Produced by Tony Quarrington
The choir (track 9): Bill Gladstone, Bonnie Gladstone, Kevin Zarnett, Laura Fernandez, Marg Stowe, Noah Zacharin, Tony LaViola, Tony Quarrington, Zoey Adams
Sergio Faluotico: percussion
Wally Brooker: saxophone (track 9)
Gladstone and Fernandez will also launch their new record label SONIC PEACH on October 5th. The label aims to focus on the highest possible audio resolution, 192K/24bit in digital multi-track format. The high-resolution files are available for those whose playback system can support it. The brain can process the extra sonic information that the human ear does not hear. Hourglasswill be released on CD, vinyl and digitally – as well as in high-resolution audio.
Stay tuned for more updates on Sonic Peach including new music from Laura Fernandez, soon to be released on the label.