Format: CD & DL
Label: CLUNK & RATTLE RECORDS
Release Date: AUGUST 28 2020
Daniel Nestlerode’s third CD, Windrush, is not so much about taking stock of one’s life as celebrating both troubles and joys. “I could not have imagined this life ten years ago, and I am so grateful for it. I have been given an amazing gift, and I never want to take it for granted.”
Most of the album was written in the UK and all of it was recorded there. But Daniel and his family exited the UK for northern France during the recording process. The new locale had an instant effect on the sound. “I felt freer to explore new sounds and less traditional ways of approaching this music.”
Where the UK is full of bouzoukis, fiddles, melodeons, and acoustic guitars, France is full of rock bands. Daniel felt drawn back to an earlier version of his musical self and began to use sounds he had abandoned years earlier. You’ll hear more electric mandolin than traditional mandolin on Windrush.
Co-production between studio owner-engineer-musician, Chris Pepper, and
Daniel allowed for a breadth of acoustic keyboard sounds that fill and balance the electric mandolins. Chris adds harmonium, dulcitone, toy piano, and an interesting little zither-like instrument called the
Marxophone. Pepper also plays drums and electric bass parts, while Mike Coombs adds double bass to several cuts.
The title cut, ‘Windrush’ is a paean to the fortitude of the Windrush Generation. It draws, fittingly, on influences both acoustic and electric, traditional and modern. It is equal parts Hugues Aufray and Ennio Morricone. Daniel says, “The Windrush scandal was breaking in the UK and I was thinking about the bravery of those people to leave their homes and
lives in the Caribbean Islands to help rebuild the UK, where they found a complete change of climate, economic uncertainty, and racial hostility.”
A quartet of songs at the heart of the CD lyrically encompass much of the story of Daniel’s life since 2010. Daniel writes about how it felt to meet his wife in ‘Unexpectedly’ and become a father for the first time in ‘Tout Ce Qui Fait Toi’, which has verses in English and a chorus in French. He explores how it feels to raise a son in ‘Being a Boy’, and shares a few of the worries of being a US citizen married to a French national living through Brexit in the UK (‘Living the Dream’).
Daniel’s cover of ‘C’est Noyé’ by American chanteuse, songwriter, and ukulele player, Victoria Vox, fits into the autobiographical nature of the CD. It was the only French Daniel could speak or sing when he met his current wife, Claudine, a French national who was living in Cambridge at the time. “We played that song dozens of times driving the hills and mountains between Palo Alto and Santa Cruz, California.” It has been a favourite in Daniel’s shows on both sides of the Channel for several years, and this seems a good occasion to include it.
The gentle ‘White Flower Waltz’, provides a pair of sonic bookends to the album. It was written during the recording process and after Daniel and his family moved to northern France. Daniel says ‘White Flower Waltz’ is an expression of appreciation for a friend who has been particularly supportive.
The traditional fiddle tune, ‘Blackberry Blossom’, gets a re-arrangement from the standard AA-BB-and-repeat format by shifting keys between D major, G major, and C major. Daniel plays mandolin, mandola, and tenor mandola (or octave mandolin). The tradition is further stretched because Daniel asked Chris Pepper to add a harmonium part. The result is
indeed non-traditional, but plays respect to the idiom from which it is drawn.
Two traditional songs are included on the CD, ‘The Vacant Chair’ and ‘The Parting Glass’ address the loss of loved ones from two different perspectives. Daniel sets his own mark on these songs with attentive vocals and inventive arrangements.
The last song that was recorded for the CD was ‘After All’. Like ‘White Flower Waltz’ it was written in France. Daniel explains: “Coming to France felt like coming home, and being home I was finally able to address some of the feelings that washed over me at end of my first marriage.”
01 White Flower Waltz (intro) (1:00)
02 Unexpectedly (2:50)
03 Living the Dream (2:33)
04 C’est Noyé* (3:09)
05 Windrush (3:11)
06 The Vacant Chair** (3:02)
07 The Parting Glass** (3:44)
08 After All (4:15)
10 Blackberry Blossom** (2:45)
11 Tout Ce Qui Fait Toi (4:08)
12 White Flower Waltz (3:40)
All songs written by Daniel Nestlerode, except * by Victoria Vox and ** (Traditional)
Website Daniel Nestlerode