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Forgotten Language of the Heart

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Falling Through Time cover

 

Track Listing

CD 1
1.
   Bow down
2.
   The mystic garden (live)
3.
   Allah, Hallelujah, Elohim 
4.
   Swing lo, sweet chariot
5.
   La vie d'un oiseau
6.
   If you believed in love (live)
7.
   Heal your heart
8.
   Lily of the west
9.
   Gypsy Madonna
10. Bird on the wire (live)

11. I heard the voice of Jesus say
12. A solitary bird
13. The first time ever I saw your face
14. Field of stars
15. Girl Jesus (live)
16. Hang on to a dream
17. Solider of love
18. Gloria
19. House of Spirits


CD 2
1.
   Morning sun (live)
2.
  Golden brown
3.
   Love call
4.
  Missa Greca
5.
  Greensleeves
6.
   Sacred Heart
7.
   The marriage of the sun and moon
8.
   Silent night
9.
  Have mercy on me (live)
10. This love
11. Copper kettle
12. Prayer for the world
13. Please please please let me get what I want
14. Forgiveness
15. Down in the willow garden
16. Sailing on the silk blue sea
17. Amazing grace
18. Return to your soul

This is a double  CD with 37 tracks... a kind of 'Best of Asher Quinn', released in 2009. The album spans the whole of Asher's career, and includes vintage instrumental, piano and vocal tracks. It also includes some 'live' material and a few cover versions as well. There are 3 entirely new numbers, and the collection perfectly encapsulates the extraordinary range of Asher's compositions... classical, new-age, solo piano, pop, folk... as well as the prophetic one-world vision of his poetic lyrics, and the unique tender intimacy of his voice.






Album review by Kelly O'Neill

Introspective New Age artist Asher Quinn has a large volume of work to his credit throughout his two decade career thus far. Forgotten Language of the Heart showcases many of his best works, most intriguing covers, and offers a few unreleased live versions of new material.

Featuring his whispery vocals accompanied by an unadorned piano is 'The Mystic Garden', recorded live in Belgium in September 2008 and Leonard Cohen’s 'Bird on the Wire', recorded live two months later in London. 'Have Mercy on Me' is another debut from the same show and is effortlessly and passionately delivered. More live offerings from that same year are the rolling 'If You Believed in Love' and the reflective 'Morning Sun' from the album Serpent in Paradise. A truly 'live' treat is the vindictive 'Forgiveness' with Quinn lashing out his vocals accompanied by the acoustic guitar.

The folksy troubadour is well accomplished in caressing his signature sound upon the tunes of others. Tim Hardin’s melancholy 'Hang On to a Dream' covered by alternative pop group Echo & the Bunnymen and the progressive rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer becomes a dreamlike sequence with Asher’s quiet vocals and running piano. Quinn’s slow, moving take on the Negro spiritual 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' is fairly traditional with long strings underneath xylophone and sparse acoustic guitar accompaniment. Med Goodall plays the arousing guitar solo in the bridge as heavier drumbeats are heard for extra effect. This song originally appeared on the album Silent Night along with Albert Frank Beddoe’s 'Copper Kettle'. Quinn’s rendition joins the ranks of great performances by Joan Baez and Bob Dylan with his soft vocals perfectly enhancing the down home Americana lyrics. His choice of instrumentation is also top notch with the cello adding depth to the coda. Along the same vein is the tragic Appalachian bluegrass murder ballad 'Down in the Willow Garden' with its sweet melody and depressing lyrics. This tale of love never meant to be also follows another American folksong, also thought to have an Irish origin, in 'Lily of the West', originally appearing on the album East of East.

Going back to more spiritual tunes, on the same album as the previously mentioned ballad is the Christian hymn 'I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say'. Quinn’s wavering whisper sets the perfect tone for his cover of the Christmas carol and title track from Silent Night. 'Amazing Grace', from the album Resurrection, is given a New Age makeover with its full orchestration and vocal inflections. The clarinet is a nice touch heard towards the end of the piece. Off the Field of Stars album is the English ballad 'Greensleeves' heard with its traditional secular lyrics, though sounding a bit low for Quinn vocally at times, its repetitive melody is soothing.

Throughout the years, Quinn has joined forces with an array of talented guest musicians. On 'Heal Your Heart' from Music for Love, vocalist Susanna Bramson adds a ripple of excitement to this heavily produced New Age gem. Between the synthesized chorus and steady drum beat, Bramson employs impressive vocal turns with a Middle Eastern flair and harmonizes well with herself. Like Moya Brennan, she uses her high clear voice more as an instrument rather than focusing on enunciation. Running over seven minutes long, this tune takes on a temporal trance-like feel. Bramson is featured again on 'Love Call' with gorgeous sustained notes echoing in the background as Quinn sings this lush fervent love song boasting his sincere poetic lyrics.

Hungarian gypsy singer Lila Mayi shadows Quinn’s vocals in 'Gypsy Madonna'. She too has a lovely voice but is barely heard over Quinn’s prominent presence in the mix. The vocal lines do not always align, which is probably purposefully bohemian. Mayi is heard again in 'Missa Greca', Quinn’s masterful take on a Greek orthodox mass. The cello adds nice texture and the addition of percussion, acoustic guitar and triangle give the song a pulsing heartbeat. This religious march is punctuated with ringing chimes and the diverse instrumentation save the song from monotony. Sharon Sage adds her vocals to another tune inspired by the Slavonic Liturgies of the Greek Orthodox Church in 'Gloria'. Her multi-layered vocals are pristine and continue to grow throughout the song so as to fill a cathedral.

One of the earlier recordings found on Forgotten Language of the Heart is the piano muse 'La Vie D’un Oiseau'. Phil Thornton joins in halfway through the piece on recorder adding an ethereal Celtic feel to this quietly tip-toeing melody. 'Soldier of Love' sounds like another heavily produced New Age number with its synthesized effects and bell tones. Then Andy Latimer enters on electric guitar adding a new dimension of depth and character to the song. Quinn fares just fine on his own on solo piano, as heard in the meditative 'A Solitary Bird' with its echoic rubato. He also enjoys experimenting with unique instrumental tones such as the ocharina, an ancient flute-like instrument that was prevalent in ancient Chinese and Mesoamerican cultures. This elliptical wind instrument makes the song 'House of Spirits' a real treat. Of course, this collection could not be complete without the instrumental tune that started it all, 'Sacred Heart' from Quinn’s first album Open Secret.

A stupendous volume of music awaits in Quinn’s Forgotten Language of the Heart collection and even after multiple listens, there is still more to discover.

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