The Colour of Night is the fifth album from the Dorset ensemble Ninebarrow in their 10 year career, demonstrating a diligent work rate despite the global challenges of recent years.
This collection of songs comprises a blend of original and interpreted works, punctuated by one instrumental commission. All are infused with an emotional connection to nature, landscape and history and are well suited to the elegant harmony between the voices of Jon Whitley and Jay La Bouchardiere. Though febrile in nature, producer Mark Tucker ensures it is never overpowered by the assembled band of John Parker on double bass, Lee MacKenzie on cello and Evan Carson on percussion that features within a spacious accompaniment alongside Jon’s piano. A featured quote from Mark Radcliffe; “like two halves of one voice” really can’t be bettered as a description of the vocal synergy between the duo which has been honed over many long years since their initial meeting at senior school.
The stylish physical edition of this album truly embodies the ’colours’ of the album title and provides both the song lyrics and an informative narrative alongside each song. This allows the listener to contemplate the lyrics in ’poem’ form as well as understand the genesis of the more obscurely rooted songs, enriching the listener experience.
A case in point is the second track, Names in the Sky, which we learn was inspired by a Radio Four documentary about artist Justin Wiggan and the sound installations of manipulated birdsong that he created for the garden of a children’s hospice. Likewise with the song Ten Miles by Two, about the struggle of Purbeck Quarrymen to retain their crown charter rights against obstructive landowners; a story firmly rooted in the location of the duo.
The band’s name is taken in tribute to Ninebarrow Down in Dorset and provides the inspiration for the eponymous song at track nine, composed by experiencing a night in the embryonic Ninebarrow Woodland that Jon and Jay planted in 2021. The gentle accordion backdrop to this song evokes the stillness of dusk’s descent over landscape and allows the sparsity of this original song to shine through. The instrumental interlude Kitty’s Song (a dance company commission), as well as the covers of Ride On and River Man, provide plenty of light and shade in this collection.
The Colour of Night is a capsule of musical and lyrical eloquence to warm the soul that you are bound to enjoy.
Released September 1 2023 on CD and digitally.
2. Names in the Sky
3. Walk With Me
4. Among The Boughs
5. Cast To The Waves
6. Kitty’s Song
7. The Snows They Melt the Soonest
8. Ride On
9. Ten Miles by Two
10. The Colour of Night
11. River Man