Josephine Foster - Graphic As A Star (Music CD)

Release Date: 09 November 2009
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When Josephine Foster released A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing in 2006, she provocatively set the lieder of composers like Schumman, Brahms, and Schubert in a unique setting. She sang them in German and played acoustic guitar, piano, and harmonica with improvising electric guitarist Brian Goodman accompanying her for a cotemporary feel. Though her music exists in a unique space, she echos risk-taking classic folk performers such as Shirley Collins. On Graphic as a Star -- her debut album for Fire Records -- she has written music to the poems of Emily Dickinson, and the fit is seamless. She conceived the 26-song cycle while living in a remote region of Spain and had brought very few books with her. Dickinson's poems provided comfort. In her liner notes she claims these songs came together in a matter of weeks. Musically, this is more sparse than anything she's ever recorded -- accompanying herself only on an acoustic guitar, sometimes with a primitive-sounding harmonica added. She also she sings a cappella ("Wild Nights - Wild Nights!") or with only the sounds of chirping birds in the background ("What Shall I Do - It Whimpers So -"). While all of Foster's work is provocative, this proves the warmest, loveliest, and most beautifully articulated recording in her catalog. These poems (which were also written in solitude; Dickinson was a self-imposed shut-in) easily lend themselves to Foster's song forms, due to the poet's keen sense of time, rhythm, and space. Dickinson's writing is often wonderfully elliptical in image and meaning; Foster underscores this here: there are no choruses. These songs are small but evoke the vast emptiness surrounding them. They don't feel melancholy, even when they are, such as in "My Life Had Stood - A Loaded Gun -." Instead they are evocative of an America at once imagined and longed for -- and this sense of homesickness is evident in the reedy beauty of Foster's voice -- which is more controlled and tempered here than ever before; she seems to have found the exact pitch and timbre she's sought since the beginning. While the entire cycle is gorgeous and the tunes nearly inseparable from one another, a couple of tracks lend themselves to singling out: the lilting early American folk melody in "Tho' My Destiny Be Fustian -" and the languid, bluesy stroll of "I Could bring You Jewels - Had I a Mind To -." Graphic as a Star is exquisite.
Release Date: 09 November 2009

1. Trust In The Unexpected
2. How Happy Is The Little Stone
3. She Sweeps With Many Colored Brooms
4. Ah Teneriffe
5. Who Is The East
6. They Call Me To The Window
7. This Is The Land The Sunset Washes
8. Like Mighty Flood Lights
9. Exultation Is The Going
10. In Falling Timbers Buried
11. With Thee In The Desert
12. I See Thee Better In The Dark
13. Your Thoughts Don't Have Words Every Day
14. My Life Had Stood A Loaded Gun
15. Eden Is That Old Fashioned House
16. Beauty Crowds Me Till I Die
17. I Could Bring You Jewels
18. Wild Nights Wild Nights
19. Only A Shrine But Mine
20. Tho' My Destiny Be Fustian
21. What Shall I Do It Whimpers So
22. Heart We Will Forget Him
23. String Draughts Of Their Refreshing Minds
24. Tell As A Marksman
25. Spider Holds A Silver Ball, The
26. Whoever Disenchants

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Catalogue No: FIRECD136