Nick Ward, Cadenza, Joshua Bell and the 1097 people syndrome, a review.

Dreamy, catchy, even chill out sometimes, and perfect song writing, that’s the way you can qualify the new Nick Ward LP, Cadenza, which is still on the turntable since Friday when I got it. I’ve played it for hours and hours. When Nick told me it was going to be a very stripped down album, I didn’t imagine it could be such a deep, human, warm, intimate one. Someone is singing for you, just right there, you can imagine, hear, almost see hands on the strings, you can imagine a man, flesh and blood for heaven’s sake, for once it’s been very well produced, emotions and feeling haven not been killed in the mix. He’s just there, full of hope with moments of despair and sadness too. We are all living this record. Listen to the lyrics...

There’s no real highlight because the record is more than good for any song, any verse, and any chorus. No turkeys. Those guys, Nick and Terry, have much to say and not so many ears are ready to listen, in that speedy Facebook instant world, to take time and listen. Please take time and listen, close your eyes, shut down the light a bit and go to the cd deck. Take the Universal Acoustic LP and Nick Ward’s Cadenza to travel a bit in your own mind. Nick is really gifted to catch all the feelings we can have and feel in a single day, catchy and sunny as O Angeline, or a bit darker (instrumental) and nostalgic sometimes when he writes his own version of Beatles’ Yesterday, youth was a time with no special fear

Anyone who has a guitar, a folk one, and who can play three chords is signed nowadays, have you noticed? A campfire and it’s ok, you’re in the new folk movement, and many, many records are soulless, poor, numb. It’s not enough to have a kind of folk attitude, song writing matters a bit too. Nick is not folk, or rock, or soul… there’s much soul in this record, not in the Daptone way ,but this record can touch you, can talk to you.

The guitars’ treatment is brilliant, most of the time acoustic or electric with very light effects… take time to listen to it.

A few years ago, Joshua Bell, one of the most famous violin player in the world played eight sonatas in the Metro whilst dressed like a “metro player”. No one took more than three minutes to stop and listen to him. (Wiki) In an experiment initiated by Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten, Bell donned a baseball cap and played as an incognito street busker at the Metro subway station L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C. on January 12, 2007. The experiment was videotaped on hidden camera; among 1,097 people who passed by, only seven stopped to listen to him, and only one recognized him. Nick, in The Speed of life: “Nobody knows your name when you live in the city, nobody knows you if you ain’t got no dough”…

I feel the same about Nick, he’s so gifted if we listen to him, there aren’t enough people who really care about the records, of the work behind it, writing, playing, rehearsing, mixing, etc. Sales are poor for everyone anyway, I know, and we are the last dinosaurs (believe me…) who love the hard copies and vinyl and so maybe we have to support the non-million sellers artists who play and believe in their authentic, beautiful and moving music…Nick is really playing on this one in the same backyard as Nick Drake and Ronnie Lane, with a touch of the best English tradition of folk, Fairport convention and the Heliocentric Weller era. Not in the vocal style, Nick has found (would you please excuse me Nick for being so arrogant?) his own voice for a while and it was already clear on Pink Bay, it’s a very natural voice without vibrato and he’s a perfect singer for the music he plays. Double tracked voices are never an easy effect, it perfectly fits to the album spirit, choral, several voices, a human being connected to the other human beings and to the universe…Elements are also important in Nick’s visions, Coney beach, stars, constellations… Skimming Stones is a brilliant instrumental and I’ve thought a lot about Dino Saluzzi’s music, so organic…O Angeline is well known, top catchy summer tune, All The World’s A Stage is another brilliant song with a very light echoing reverb effect on voice, it’s a very classical subject you can find in Shakespeare’s works and it keeps on working, we all try to be a good actor in our own play…Roamin’ is awesome because of the kind of pizzicato violin effects at the beginning, and in the lyrics you can even find a ‘slice of Humble pie’! Well, anyway, with that kind of record, you will not live with a black heart. Heaven knows, you could have found a record to heal the pain of another day, suffer in silence is all we ever do…definitely a must have. No contest. Stay tuned, a full hour interview with Nick very soon available as a mixcloud, double version, French and English. ;)


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