Don Beekeeper Releases His Full-Length Album Slave

Slave by Don Beekeeper

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 .

Your impulse
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.

Slave by Don Beekeeper

Buy the album through:

Buy the album here: www.onebeekeeper.bandcamp.com

CD baby will follow soon.

Raw and Powerful

Welcome to our acoustic and folk edition featuring Don Beekeeper, Layne Greene and Fleet Foxes

Don Beekeeper: I love being on Soundcloud

I have not met anyone who is as interactive in soundcloud as Canadian singer/songwriter Don Beekeeper. Everyone seems to be either on facebook or in my case IRC.  According to Don: I don’t write any one particular kind of song. I try to make things sound like I think they should sound, based on what they say. I tend to use the fastest and easiest way to play and record my stuff. I like to move on from one thing to the next. I’m actually more interested in writing something new than I am in thinking about what I’ve already done …

He loves collaborative work with other artists . One of the memorable tracks I heard was his spoken word set to music. His prose is intense. He reminds me of the beat poets of the 50s. His music is stripped down acoustic style with bits and pieces taken from Blues, folk and ballads. I am sure Don probably has other ideas as to how he defines his music. He strikes me as a very opinionated guy with a sense of humor. But I don’t really know the guy very well so I am just basing it on first impression.

His soundcloud page is flowering with comments. He noted : I love being on Soundcloud. I’ve never encountered a place with a greater concentration of talented and otherwise-hidden people. I’m writing this from my basement with headphones on. He does have a nice voice. His range is somewhere between Neil Young and Leonard Cohen. He also plays the harmonica. One of his youtube videos show him singing accompanied by an acoustic guitar and harmonica.

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Layne Greene: Cliffs Along the Sea (Bryan John Appleby cover)

Cliffs Along the Sea is the second in series of the cover project that singer/songwriter Layne Greene is working on until Christmas. I like Bryan Appleby and I think he made a really nice cover of the song. I heard the original version and the vocals on that one gets pretty rough in the chorus section. Layne did a workaround. He was able to counteract that treacherous passage by doing an overdub, using the same melodic line an octave lower. This maintains a cohesive pull between higher and lower notes. He usually harmonizes , so hearing him sing  monophonic is really new. He doesn’t own a recording studio yet so his songs are recorded manually in a small room where a workaround to improve the sound is a constant task. I think this constant exposure made him a really clever guy to make do with so little yet create something clean, crisp and worth a listen.

http://laynegreene.bandcamp.com

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Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (Live on KCRW)

Our folk edition would not be complete without the music of the Fleet Foxes. Their use of emotional landscapes with an almost cinematic appeal make their music really interesting.