The Brother found me
in the tall trees
I was finding a way
out through the other side
He asked me my name
I told him I was a slave
and he gave me his bread
and walked away-Slave
Don Beekeeper and the term ‘relaxing’ are never really at home with each other. His songs might not always be comprised with loud instruments and screaming but they aim to provoke. And his lyrics promise to move regardless of the subject. Dramatic, scalding but at the same beautiful. Everything in Slave, his full-length album is filled with emotional complexity and dynamic sounds that defy categorization. It seems like punk but not really. You can say it’s more like folk music but then again it’s not. It is everything and yet neither. “There are characters in the album. They are analogues of one another. It’s probably not gonna be that obvious, really.”
Don is a master story teller sculpting narratives in fluid style that draws you in a punishes you with something you are aware, be it the memory of bad relationships, pathetic personalities or nightmares or existence. Slave comes with a PDF as liner notes. The lyrics are placed along the pictures that Don made himself. I have to say the album design is impressive considering that he never got any help putting everything together.
Slave eleven tracks. It begins with the title track .
like the waves of the ocean
is crossing the world
away from everything..
Don’s poetry shines in every track as exemplified by Slave which is just a taster for what’s to come. The dense poetry and emotional catharsis are all over this album. Coupled that with music that has the dramatic intensity of any Hitchcock movie and what you get is something that flaps, kicks and rolls on your dinner table as you watch open mouthed at such display of something that’s hard to define. And yes very much alive.
Mardi Gras follows. His voice takes an eerie ululation during the chorus following the narrated verses. In The Fall is a bitter-sweet ballad. He paints life’s terrible blows as they are:
” I know the way
Is filled with pain and loss
But life don’t give you tickets
To a ball. “
Answer the Phone Denise is a lover begging for forgiveness in a sarcastic tone:
And I know you’re better – and you know I’m worse.
I pushed you but never made you fall….
So, I’ll try once again, harder than before.
And when I call you, please answer the phone, Denise.
Catch and Release reminds me of the Beat Generation. I don’t know if Don finds this flattering but his narration sounds a bit like Kerouac reading from On the Road or the Dharma Bums.
This street is endless
The naked light breaks through the noise But can’t turn the corner And I have to find a
place to sit for a while……
Solo piano and voice give way to Bound. Don’s voice become deep and reminds of Leonard Cohen. There’s percussion used occasionally to add to the eerie atmosphere of the track. Like the album’s title, there is a recurring theme running all over. Only A Slave continues the theme which begun with the first track.
Night is Falling Fast is another piano and voice track. This is the side of Don’s songwriting and arrangement that I am getting to love.
“And I wait that the day of ascendance
As surely as rain
I’ll knot the hair on your face
And colour your eyes with lavender.”.
……Goes the second to the last verse of Savior. Brother showcases nice harmonica parts which Don plays well. This is the kind of track you would love to play as you watch the clouds move by above the Canadian prairies. Free closes this album perfectly.
“It’s always gracious
How life can be a nuisance
it’s always making demands of you.”
Slave is a collection of songs that makes you want to listen because of the sentiments that’s universal. It is like a novel apart form the fact that it is a musical effort. Each song is a story that is connected to the rest of the tracks. Slave is a must have if you into intelligent lyrics, interesting arrangements and yes distinctive strong male voices.
You went your own way
Leaving me here with the dogs
And the dishes are broken on the floor
But I know what went wrong
And it won’t take me that long to
Clean this mess and start again
Time can leave the windows open to the rain -Not part of any song but an extra writing.
Buy the album through:
Buy the album here: www.onebeekeeper.bandcamp.com
CD baby will follow soon.