October 02, 2004

An Entire Community Singing Its Heart Out: The Clouds

When Irwin Chusid, the czar of outsider music, brings out a record, you know its bound to be something special!... In the past, he's given us such gems as The Langley Schools Music Project and Songs In The Key of Z. And now he has released The Clouds, an “avant gospel” project put together by Indianapolis artist, Stuart Hyatt, and featuring performances by 88 amateur singers and instrumentalists from Sumter County in Western Alabama who range in age from 8 to 80. All the songs performed by the project were originals written by Hyatt in collaboration with the performers... even where those performers weren't really songwriters. On "No, You Can't Take Them", for instance, he got a group of fourth to eighth grade kids to come up with one thing they would take to a desert island, and this list became the quirky Widney-High-esque verses to a song about what you can't take to heaven with you. As a counterpoint, the choruses were sung in classic vaulting gospel style by the Union Chapel Male Chorus... Its a combination which may look odd on paper, but it all works beautifully... An mp3 of the track can be downloaded from the WFMU archive, and the album can be purchased through Innova.

Posted by Warren at October 2, 2004 05:33 PM | Outsider