"Silver And Ash" is the new album by Clare Burson and it is thoroughly excellent. I have only owned it for a week or so but already it is shaping up to be one of my favourite albums of the year.
Rob Smith over at Popdose has done a proper review of the album, to which there is nothing I can usefully add. As he explains, the songs are mostly inspired by Clare's grandmother, who fled Germany in 1938 and eventually made her way to America, and her great-grandparents who are presumed to have died in the Holocaust.
You don't need to know the back story to enjoy the songs, which stand on their own merits, but it enables you to appreciate them all the more. And having Clare introduce each one by explaining what inspired it certainly added greatly to the concert held at Joe's Pub to launch the album, which I was lucky enough to catch while in New York last week. It was an utterly mesmerising performance.
Here are a couple of songs from the album, but you really ought to buy it and listen to the whole thing for maximum enjoyment.
"Everything's Gone" - Clare Burson
"Magpies" - Clare Burson
As an encore, Clare performed a lovely rendition of Arcade Fire's "We Used To Wait", which you can listen to here.
One of the other inspirations for "Silver And Ash" was a big slice of ancient cheese, as Clare explains:
And here is another gigantic piece of ancient cheese.