TRACK LISTINGS FOR AN ALLELUIA OF SORTS:

 

1. Man Is Troubled By The Woman Every Day

2. The Pressure Of The Sun

3. Bars Of Nineveh

4. Tramlines

5. Escape The Load

6. One Sailor down

7. Parallel Cell

8. Root Mountain

9. Three Days

10. Kings, Decrees And Absolutes

11. No City Disposal

12. What Grows Of Me

13. Space Full Of Mercy And Rest

14. Written Worth

15. Braver The State Of His Mind

 

(Woodbine Street - for Paul Brook)

 

 

For a review of the album 'An Alleluia Of Sorts' please see: http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/products/Leere/An_Alleluia_Of_Sorts/136245/

 

It is available from Wild Duck Productions, Amazon and BPM Records in Derby

 

An Alleluia of Sorts: Album Overview

 

The following album overview was written in August 2009 by Simon Monaghan.

 

(The album 'An Alleluia of Sorts' was written and recorded under a number of working titles including What Grows Of You and Any Lands To Save My Skin. It is loosely based on the Biblical book of Jonah)

 

'This was my first attempt at working with a set narrative and there were bound to be a few hiccups along the route. By way of background and introduction to the songs and their sources, I offer this brief overview... perhaps to entirely ignore or perhaps to stimulate a response… either way here it is!In the writing and the recording of the album 'What Grows Of You'/'Any Lands To Save My Skin' I sought to explore two key questions or ideas that emerged after the completion of the first leere album 'Compassionate Ride'. Tom, Jon and I had discussed how we might freshen things up a little and the two ideas in mind seemed to be real fertile ground for creative work, reflecting a wide range of human experience and touching on many differing values and perceptions.The first question lay around the relevance, and the sustained potential for interpretation of key Biblical themes, stories and paradigms for song writing in general. Much of the music that has held my attention over the years has been tinged with some spiritual, mystical and occasional scriptural base - from Leadbelly, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye right through to Van Morrison, Christie Moore and Matt Johnson ('The The'). I was curious to know if holy books, and the books within holy books (i.e. the 'sources of inspiration' to the believer), can still operate as a source of inspiration to contemporary songwriters. The Book of Jonah, like the Psalms - laden with their powerful imagery and concise form - had clearly connected with the child around me and in me, and perhaps out of this it presented a stirring challenge. Whale, big fish or no fish... who could fail to sense the ripples on reading the line 'There… I was locked out of life' (Jonah 2:4)Secondly, I was interested in how I might use the narrative of Jonah to 'open up' the life of an individual, be they alive now or long forgotten, and in adopting it as a backdrop I would aim to capture their trials and their tribulations, their deepest fears ('I went down to the very roots of the mountain', Jonah 2:6) along with any moments of joy, peace and discovery ('Nineveh.. that great city', Jonah 4:11... I am certain Jonah echoed those words after some period of time!) I knew that the framework of the Jonah narrative would help bring all manner of issues to the surface, that it could generate new space and provoke diverse sound, and throughout the recording a sort of healthy tension emerged between Jon's favoured guitar sounds and the constancy of the acoustic. So… partly it was the complexity of the character of Jonah, his angst and his sense of unfulfilment that appealed, but also our own complexity…all this alongside the purposeful and the compassionate image of God that pervades the story.Songwriting breaks in North Wales helped cement the music and the early lyrics. Conversation with Carran Waterfield, Artistic Director at Triangle Theatre Company, and with staff at Coventry Cathedral in the latter stages of recording had heightened my awareness of how difficult it might be to convey the purest forms of justice, forgiveness and compassion in relation to the narrative. So Tom, Jon and I discussed the benefits of working towards a focal point on the album, and 'Root Mountain' quickly emerged as the song which defines a 'turning' (in Hebrew 'teshuva') in mood and in fortune. It was as if we were still holding close to the plot.Keeping these two ideas in mind would hopefully help weave a pattern that dipped in and out of the narrative, but also allowed for experimentation and some comment on the present, on our age…and so, whatever the outcome was to be musically, lyrically and emotionally, it was going to be something very different for the band. In fact it ended up as more of a plunge than a dip….but with no better crew than Godley, Haines, Matthews, Pearson, Priestley and Thompson, while I'm sure Brookie was navigating throughout. I did notice a recent survey highlighting how people in the UK were increasingly unfamiliar with basic Biblical texts. This didn't send me into a 'Daily Mail' type hysteria about the state of the nation... and I am certainly not a literalist when it comes to any holy book. However, I do feel that we are significantly weakened as a species if we arrogantly dismiss such stories that deal so explicitly with the human condition, our sense of community and our search for identity… if we glibly snub the books that grapple with themes of mercy, renewal and trust, merely because a few interpret such texts in an exclusive and a hostile manner, or if such stories are deemed as an 'irrelevance' by a culture flooded with 'personal profiles', with disposable information at the tap of a keyboard. And some songs may reflect that tiny fear of mine that we could slip into triviality and insensitivity (worst still 'the unexamined life') unless a proper debate involving people from all backgrounds and all vocations - not just clergymen and scientists - can be held about how we genuinely connect with the great communities and exemplars of faith that have contributed over years to the shaping of these texts into such fascinating and insightful manuscripts. 'What Grows Of You'/'Any Lands To Save My Skin' is our small… very small, contribution to a dialogue around these issues of relevance and overlap that 'holy stories' seem to keep throwing up!!

 

Thank You.Simon (Devon - August 2009)

 

An Alleluia of Sorts was recorded between July 2007 and July 2009 at Pavilion Studios. It was engineered and produced by Jon Priestley, mixed and mastered by Andie Thomson at Gighouse Studios. All music and songs written by Simon Monaghan/Jon Priestley. All lyrics by Simon Monaghan.An Alleluia of Sorts features Simon Monaghan on acoustic guitar and vocalsJon Priestley on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals, keyboard and programmingWayne Matthews on bass (on tracks 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 15)Ben Haines on drums and percussion Sandra Godley on vocals (on tracks 3, 13 and 15)Paul Brook features on track 3 and on Woodbine Street

 

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