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WARP AND WEFT
This is Laura Veirs’ nineth album and, as
with her overall approach to her career, it
comes almost as an aside. It just is. A gift
from her creative heart to whomever the
listener happens to be.
And it really is a beautiful thing. Very much a
homespun, family affair, the album is once again
produced by her husband, Tucker Martine, and
features a bunch of friends like Neko Case and
kd lang popping by to lend a hand.
With the recording process beginning while
still pregnant with her second child, the
lyrical themes are clearly affected by what’s
happening around and within her. The
starting point for her explorations of love
and pain is Motherhood and the thoughts
and concerns for her children’s welfare that
Full of atmospheric te xt ures, mainly from
gently caressed, slightly overdriven, electric
guitar lines, the songs seem to float daintily
through the air like thistledown. A hypnotic
offering that casts its spell in an effortless,
rela xed manner, Warp And Weft weaves its
course with a knowing, affectionate smile.
Eminently listenable, it really is one of those
rare albums that make you want to play it
again and again.
A lovely journey well worth taking.
An interesting proposition this – a musical
written by Stephen King, w ith music provided
by John Mellencamp, about two brothers and
the ghosts of a very dark event that occurred a
long time ago in the family cabin.
Cue hooting owls, branches scratching against
windowpanes and dusty rocking chairs.
Without the benefit of actually seeing the
musical, however, this album is best judged
on its own musical merits as an entity of itself.
And what you get is a collection of evocative,
oc c a sionally spectacular renditions of
countrified ruminations from the likes of
Elvis C ostello, Taj Mahal, Rose anne Ca sh
a nd Sheryl Crow.
As a songwriter, Mellencamp has often been
underrated, mainly because of his early
pop success, but over the years he h as relea sed
a steady stream of low key workmanlike
recordings that have seen him quietly hone his
naturally gifted skills.
And now he can peel off numbers like Home
Again and You Don’t Know Me which
are master cla sses in pure American folk
simplicity – tunes that are memorable with
simple struct ures ro oted in American culture,
and lyrics that poignantly capture the essence
of a situation with a few simple turns of phrase.
There’s a wonderful dirt beneath your toes
ambience to these recordings thanks to
the intuitive production skills of multiple
Grammy and Golden Globe winner, T Bone
Burnett, and you can almost smell the log fire
burning as the songs amble past your ears.
An artful smorgasbord of superior songs
welded to a series of effortless performance s
by some of today’s most expressive singers,
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is a
smoky, grainy album that works without
even con sidering its storyline. Impressive.
MUSIC REVIEWS BY PHIL BENNETT
The City of Sydney’s rec ently
updated register of significant
trees records the 16 metre grey
ironbark as the City’s oldest tree,
thought to date back to 1850.
Its surrounding habitat has changed
dramatically since its days before Europea n
s ettlement. It predates by 20 yea rs historic St
John’s Anglica n Church in whose grounds it
Senior minister Paul Perini said the
tree des er ved respect. “It was there before
the church. It takes us back to the original
custodians of this piece of land on which St
John’s wa s built. It’s a link with them.”
Arborists c onsider it to be possibly the
last remnant of a former turpentine-ironbark
fore st that grew along the ridge before
Specialists believe it is the oldest tree in
the City of Sydney’s local government area,
outside the B otanic Garden s.
“I see it as a symbol of strength. For me
personally, it’s the only thing that’s remained
strong in this particular area when everything
else is gone. A lot of the people have gone, a
lot of the cultural knowledge is gone. And
it’s standing in the middle of this concrete
jungle. It’s like a witness, a test ament to
them,” said Ray Minniecon, a member of the
church ’s Aboriginal congregation.
“Being located on the church grounds
makes it more significa nt for us”.
The tree is one of 2,668 on the significant
tree register, including 277 that local s a nd
residents themselves identified a s important.
More than 750 specimen s were added a s a
result of a rec ently completed review, the
first in eight years.
Trees can be chosen for outstanding
height, trunk or canopy spread, its association
with an important historical event, its local
rarity as a species, or because it is valuable in
propagating that particular species.
Most of the trees – 51% – are located in
City parks or streets, 44% on institutional
land such a s universities, schools and churches,
a nd 5% on privately owned property.
the number involved in the review, with
many new trees nominated after the
City encouraged residents and visitors to
vote for significant trees located in their
In the corner of a quiet
Glebe churchyard is a tree
that has stood strong as an
entire global city has grown
up around it.
Witness to the Past
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