Ray Gibson – Fishing Muddy Puddles

Ray Gibson - Fishing Muddy Puddles

Ray Gibson – Fishing Muddy Puddles

I realize it’s a bit dated now, but my hunch is that when Ray Gibson‘s  Fishing Muddy Puddles released in 2012, it didn’t make much of a splash stateside.   And as far as puddles go – engaging, muddy, gritty, splashy good fun all around; I think we may have missed out.  The good news then is that there is more Ray Gibson and company due out later this year.

There is nothing typical about Gibson’s studio collaboration on Fishing Muddy Puddles (Itchy Pig Records). Launched by a team of professional musicians, produced and arranged by Tom Krimi, it’s a beautiful score amid tales of struggle and woe.  Anything new here?   You bet.  We aren’t necessarily on the Earth we know in the present, nor are we in our past, and the “we” the musicians invoke is a collective trace we lost somehow, and yet try to regain.  With time re-imagined, “The Mandolin Song”,  that whistling (iconic reminder of all things human), plays out importantly on Track 10.   Not much happens here accidentally, so this moment resonates because of its simplicity, I think.  The self-instrument, the whistle, calling out, is temporally halting and deep.  It’s an existential moment for each one of us.

The musicianship and studio sessions are beyond precise.   I’d have to say they show precision coupled with devotion – a kind of labor of love.  This is only a guess as I am listening from far across the pond.  Martin Knörzer’s Cello, Helen Bauerfeind’s Violin, Steffan Zimmer’s Trumpet, Ingo Günther’s Harpsichord and Wurlitzer, Michael Weilacher’s Percussion, Mr. Hüster’s French Horn, Alex Beyer’s Double Bass, and Ulf Andresen’s clarinet, as well as work from individual choir members:   Roxy, Lui’sa, Sonja, Falco, Uwe, Tom, Erik, Dave, Anke, and Yve show each artist’s ability to carry their “song” or “track” well beyond individual limits.   Tracks such as “Modern Earth”, “Wake the Others”, and “Eirik the Red”  ( The Spae Queen) resemble the kind of songwriting and musicality Gibson and team are capable of throughout; narratively and musically strong enough to stand alone, but greater when paired and mixed this well together.   It’s really fantastic musically: ambitious, artful, inviting and generous – a gem of a first recording effort.   Watch and listen for the next release, My Left Hand, due out December 2014.