Dancer and the Moon
2013 / Frontier Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Dancer and the Moon is the latest release from Blackmore’s Night. For the uninitiated (or very young!), Ritchie Blackmore was one of the original members of Deep Purple, a British rock group who was listed in the 1972 Guinness Book of World Records as “the globe’s loudest band.” He also founded Rainbow, which combined baroque music elements with blues rock. Candice Night is an American vocalist/lyricist/multi-instrumentalist with a powerful yet angelic voice. The album is comprised of nine vocal pieces and three instrumentals, most of which are lively and upbeat. Some have a traditional renaissance folk spirit while others have more of a rock edge - a combination that works incredibly well in this case! Blackmore’s Night’s previous release, Autumn Sky, was awarded Best Vocal Album in the 2011 Zone Music Awards, and I would expect Dancer and the Moon to receive similar accolades. The physical CD includes a beautiful 16-page booklet with song lyrics, an explanation of where the songs came from, and lots of photos. There is also a “deluxe” CD/DVD package available.
Dancer and the Moon begins with Randy Newman’s classic “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today,” a longtime favorite of mine. This more upbeat version updates and suits the song perfectly. “Troika” was inspired by a Ukrainian soap opera and the freedom of horses running. Joyous and exuberant, it’s impossible to ignore this one or to keep it in the background. “The Last Leaf” is a gorgeous ballad with a simple renaissance folk accompaniment - guitar, violin and flute. If you aren’t hooked yet, “The Lady In Black” should clinch the deal! Rather simple in structure, Night’s passionate vocals and the driving bass are compelling. “Minstrels in the Hall” is the first of the instrumentals and is composed in a style of dance music from the 1500’s. The title track is a lively yet mysterious song with a powerful Russian flavor. It’s almost impossible to sit still while this one is playing! Love it! “Somewhere Over the Sea (The Moon is Shining)” and “The Moon is Shining (Somewhere Over the Sea)” are different versions of the same song. The first is a poignant and graceful ballad about love and loss and the second has more of a rock structure and instrumentation - both are exceptional! “The Spinner’s Tale” is a lovely song based on a lament written by Richard the 3rd with new lyrics written by Night and simple instrumentation (guitar and flute). The closing track, “Carry On... Jon” is a tribute to Jon Lord, one of the founders of Deep Purple and other groups, who passed away in 2012. A great Purple-tinged ending to a great album!
Dancer and the Moon has been both fun and inspiring to review and I promise that it won’t be sitting on the shelf now that the review is done! It is available from Amazon and iTunes and most other music outlets. Very highly recommended!
July 21, 2013
Review by Michael Debbage