The Band Website
Review by Jerry Tenenbaum Posted to The Band Website
It was just over 2 years ago that I reviewed Howard Gladstone’s first CD “Sunflowers Light The Room” in the Band Guestbook. He had just performed it at Clinton’s on Bloor St. in Toronto. It seemed appropriate to review it here. Howard had links to Robbie; and his music echoed much of what the Band and others near to the Band represented.
Tonight I have just returned from the CD release of his new CD “Candles On the River”. The performance was again at Clinton’s, a great little room at the back of a bar with nice acoustics and a great feel to it. It suited Howard and the gang perfectly. What we got tonight was a continuation of some personal and topical lyrics enmeshed in some beautiful melodies with arrangements that satisfied. Again, with the production and excellent musicianmanship of Tony Quarrington, a well-known and highly respected guitarist, Howard has delivered a fine piece of work. Denis Keldie on
keyboards and accordion was superb, evoking a Hudson/Kooper feel to many of the songs. Russ Boswell on “skinny” standup bass and Gary Orme on drums (Al Cross plays drums on the CD) completed a tight ensemble.
Howard and the boys played two sets, delivering all the new songs and a selection of some from the “Sunflowers” (first) CD. What I heard was a maturation of his style in some songs. Particularly noteworthy are “Prisoner of New Orleans”, “Damaged Angel”, “Candles on the River” and “Photograph”.
These songs deal with personal loss, tragedy, serenity and memories respectively. They are atmospheric and are played with arrangements that put you into New Orleans or on the banks of the Ganges. I was personally moved by “Photograph” as Howard delivered his feelings at looking at a photo of
times past and the people and places that this conjured. “Damaged Angel” deals with fetal alcohol syndrome, “Aboriginal Burial Ground” with desecration and “Fishing By the Book (with its Maritimes feel)” and “Going Offshore” (‘Buffetism’ poking dark humor at a serious problem)with globalization and corporate indifference, leading to potential ruination of centuries old ways of life. Gregg Quill of The Toronto Star called “Sunflowers” a ‘fascinating debut’. I’d have to say that the fascination
continues as Howard explores vital issues and keeps them front-and-centre. It is amazing sometimes how things seem to have a synchronicity. Robbie is interviewed by Howard early in the Band years, Robbie goes back to his roots and sings about his people, and Howard puts in yet another link in the chain with “Aboriginal Burial Ground”.
Eddie Baltimore played slide guitar on two of the cuts on the CD. Sadly, he passed away recently just as the CD was being completed. Howard pays tribute to a lost friend with “Too Many Voices Gone Silent” which he told us he added to the CD.
Once again, Howard Gladstone, with the help of some stellar musicians, has produced a worthy CD of personal reflections and topical songs. And, oh yes, Howard, in that “slightly offkey Cohenesque delivery ” (as Gregg Quill described you in his review of “Sunflowers”), for a second there, I thought
I heard the sweet tones of Ricky Nelson. Congratulations!