This is a relatively very recent obsession, but I’ll chronicle it anyway, with a fair smattering of trivia.
Strangely enough, it was dear friend Graham who first brought Stacey Kent to me, by buying me ‘Hush a bye Mountain’ CD for my birthday two years ago. (Hushabye Mountain! Who could have imagined that this song from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang could ever have been given such poignant subtlety by this exquisitely jazzy chanteuse?) Later that summer we were in Scotland for godson Owain’s wedding. I came across the CD ‘Breakfast on the Slow train’ (or something like that) by Stacey Kent in a charity shop in Perth.
Its really interesting feature is that it contains songs co-written by the renowned novelist Kazuo Ishiguro! And they’re not bad: ‘Ice Hotel’, for instance, which opens the CD. And track two is ‘Landslide’ which, when I first heard it, I paid little attention to, except to note that it was very nice.
Last week, though, browsing through youtube clips from Glee, as you do, I came across the one where Gwyneth Paltrow sings a song accompanying herself, apparently, on guitar. [is that GP singing? If she’s that good, why didn’t Chris Martin invite her to sing along on Coldplay tracks before they famously went through their ‘amicable conscious uncoupling’ – of whatever was that phrase they used for splitting up.] ‘I know this song’ I thought. That melodic progression, like a little ladder, on the chorus.
Within the hour I had it: Stacey Kent! It sent me back to that ‘Breakfast’ CD, and I found myself putting track two on repeat. It’s a Stevie Nicks song –yes that Fleetwood Mac girl – and I can see it using a metaphor of some kind, and I’m not sure I totally get it – and maybe in some ways that adds to the charm. ‘I’ve been afraid of changing…’ says the little ladder of a hook chorus, and yes of course old conservative with a small c as I am, I can identify with that.
I’ll keep on listening and maybe I’ll figure it out. Meanwhile, it’s just a lovely song, a lovely performance.