Friday, June 13, 2008

A Work of Incandescent Beauty

Greetings from sunny Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the most difficult part of the current jaunt: four flights in four days, each of them early in the morning, and each taking me to places that are a little warmer than I might prefer.  Nevertheless, today is an easier day than most: three bookstores in the city visited, and now a little time to catch up on e-mail, drink coffee, and watch the world go by while I, for a moment, stay in one place.

I've been trying to resist buying CDs as I go, mainly because my check-in bag weighs exactly 49.5 lbs at the moment, and I've jammed as much stuff as I can into my carry on luggage without doing myself an injury.  Still, one CD hasn't been far from me since I picked up a promo copy a couple of weeks ago, and the more I listen to it, the more I think that it may well be one of the finest albums released so far this century. 

The album is called To Survive, and it's the work of Joan Wasser, who records under the name Joan as Police Woman.  Wasser was the violinist with Anthony and the Johnsons (and was the late Jeff Buckley's lover).  Her debut album, Real Life, was very fine indeed, but To Survive is an incredible leap forward, reminiscent of the best of Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell and the cream of the 1970's female singer-songwriters.  From its first song, "Honor Wishes", through the haunting strings and heartbreaking restraint of the title track, to the ambiguities of "To America", the final song, it is almost without flaw; or, rather, what flaws there are are intensely human, and add to the beauty of the work rather than detract from it.  

Quite simply, Wasser's album makes the work of most of her peers seem rather mundane by comparison.  If there is any justice in the world, it will become a huge word-of-mouth success.  I plan to contribute, in my small way, by pressing as many copies of it as possible on friends and strangers.  Buy it.  I'd say that you won't be disappointed, but that would be selling this wonderful album short.  Better to say that your life will be a little richer for having heard it.

This week John read

Six Days of the Condor by James Grady
Lords of the Bow by Conn Iggulden

and listened to 

To Survive by Joan as Police Woman

12 comments:

Elisabeth Iskrem said...

Will listen to the album. If my life will get a little better, I sure hope it will stay that way.


ps. I'm reading your Book of lost things at the moment. I salute you in awe. :)

Marcus said...

Just finished the Reapers and just bought To survive from iTunes

hoodie said...

off to the shop to buy, sounds good on the web. Have you heard JILL JACKSON,any comments.
Hope all going well JC ?
regards, hoodie

normski-beat said...

Loved her first album but haven't listened to this one yet. Didn't know of her association with A&TJ's either, or Jeff Buckley.

On another note, been reading Neon Rain, James Lee Burke's first Dave Robicheaux novel. I could swear its like reading about Charlie Parker's twin brother, the two are so alike in thought and personality. Still prefer Parker though...

How is The Lovers coming...?

Barbara Martin said...

I'm going to try the music and your book "The World of Lost Things". Both sound interesting.

Jen Jordan said...

Spectacular cd. Gorgeous. Stunning. Moving. Fragile, lush voice.

Mmmmmm......

Shadow said...

i have just finished reading john connolly's the book of lost things. i am moved! it's a book about childhood and grief, all our 'vices' within, jealousy, greed, deception, fears, the base human nature. and it's about the transition from childhood to adulthood. and how this boy became a man and how he lived his life to the end. it's about fantasy, drawing on all the traditional fairy tales we know so well. this is a book i will read again. if you want to go on the trip of your lifetime, treat yourself to this book. maybe it too will touch you as as it has touched me.

from http://www.thebookoflostthings.com/ john connolly himself says: "but it is also a hopeful book, for it suggests that, in the end, it is better to live than to give up, better to grasp experience and endure the thorns than to risk having the beauty and joy that this world has to offer pass us." that is what i felt when i read the last word in the book...

i'm a HUGE fan!!!!!
http://gsp-shadow.blogspot.com/2008/07/book-of-lost-things-john-connolly.html

Annie Chen said...

Hi,John, how are you doing? I guess right now you are busy touring among different countries, meeting people in the book signing events. July 21,2007 is a wonderful day for me, because it's the day I met you and had my copy of The Book of Lost Things signed by you. I was very impressed with your sincerity, your sense of humor, and your charm. What's really magic is that one year has passed, but whenever I read The Book of Lost Things, it still reminds me of you. I still remember vividly the way you talk and laugh, just like the passing of time has stopped. Eventually, time will take its toll on all of us. Decades later, it's inevitable that our hair starts to fall out and our skin starts to sag, but in my memory we won't be touched by time and change; we will always be young, joyful, and glamorous. I was 37 and you were 39. Life was full of wonder, hope, and dreams to be fulfilled. It's really nice to have met you,John. I've met you only for a short while, but memories of you and your book live on forever...

This week Annie read
The Book of Lost Things
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
and listened to
Stardust by Nat King Cole

Joe Ross - Cheap Lullaby Records said...

Hey everyone, instead of getting a burned copy from John maybe you could go to iTunes or our website (or any store that doesn't suck) and buy a copy? Help an indie label and an indie artist! =)

USA tour dates just announced. www.cheaplullaby.com

Joe Ross - Cheap Lullaby Records said...

OH yeah, JOHN! Thanks for the love! SO GREAT TO HAVE YOUR SUPPORT!

=)

Decktron said...

Just checked out To Survive and Real Life following your recommendation. Brilliant. Looking forward to seeing the trio perform at Electric Picnic. It should be a treat!

Anti-Room said...

Coincidentally, we've been posting about Joan Wasser, Laura Nyro and Fleet Foxes in the last week or two.

Be sure to check out Bon Iver and Port O'Brien too!

Ruby - The Anti Room