…" .I'm enthralled (with Candles on the River). The way Gladstone delivers lyrics; it's as if you are hearing him sculpt a song. Just like ice carvers at a winter festival, Gladstone shapes ordinary words into beautiful visions… these are songs of strength and courage…with .…lyrics (that) bite into the social conscience of humanity and touch us right in the heart…Virginia MacIsaac www.rambles.net
Howard Gladstone is a Canadian singer/songwriter
creating songs that strive for an authentic voice -
realistic and romantic. Not a comparison, but as a starting point think Leonard Cohen crossed with Marc Cohn, Jerry Garcia and John Lennon.
Gladstone’s songs are populated with vivid characters, diverse themes , powerful images, and set in varied locales around North America and the world. The music is melodic and diverse, featuring varied musical styles – ballads, blues, folk, pop with a touch of country and jazz, carefully crafted with meaningful lyrics, and presented with a fitting laid-back vocal style and strong acoustic guitar playing.
Howard Gladstone has independently released three well-received albums of original music - "Sunflowers Light The Room" (2002) , "Candles On The River" (2005), and "The Breath In The Wind" (2007) featuring Howard in a stripped-back trio format.
Gladstone sometimes approaches his subject matter as a seasoned journalist would: with an eye for detail, a sense of story and a desire for objectivity. He sticks to the facts, tells it like it is and maintains a measured and slightly detached quality in his vocal delivery. Other times, a more lyrical and poetic side emerges.
Howard is a convincing solo performer. He also appears on a regular basis with guitarist Tony Quarrington who helps explore and claim additional musical territory. A trio is completed with Kevin Zarnett on bass. Full band performance includes Denis Keldie (keyboards/accordian), Kevin Zarnett, Russ Boswell or Bruce Longman (bass), and Gary Orme (drums).
Gladstone’s observations and concerns are deeply etched in his songs, ranging from the plight of First Nations (“Aboriginal Burial Ground”), to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (“Damaged Angel”) to the closing of Canadian Maritime fisheries (“Fishin’ by the Book”), to globalization and corporate indifference (“Goin’ Offshore”). “ Down to the Delta” surveys the history of the blues and wonders where that music is going.
Other songs reflect on love, loss, and the vagaries of life. “Prisoner of New Orleans” and “Photograph” are atmospheric, moody songs with an air of mystery. “Candles on the River” takes its inspiration and rhythm from a sunrise Gladstone observed in India. His song "Sunflowers Light The Room" has been compared to "Changes" and "Here Comes The Sun."
Howard also organizes musical events, including the Toronto City Roots Festival (www.torontocityroots.com), at the historic Distillery District.
The Breath In The Wind, Howard Gladstone’s third CD of original songs, released April 2007 is a step forward in the clarity and power of the writing, and the simplicity and directness of the songs. It’s a step back - to a much simpler production, compared to his previous works. Recorded in a couple of days, this is basically a live album with singer-songwriter Howard Gladstone on acoustic guitar and vocal, and just two accompanists - long-time collaborator and brilliant guitarist Tony Quarington, and outstanding bass accompanist Kevin Zarnett..
A self-described romantic-realist, Howard Gladstone’s songs cover a lot of musical territory and themes. Gladstone gets around, and the songs reference locations as diverse as Paris’ Left Bank, Jerusalem, Georgia (USA, not USSR) , Delhi (Ontario), and the Good Old USA.
The opening song “Follow Your Heart” is an upbeat and optimistic song in a minor key ballads and sets the tone. The album ranges from ballads to blues to folk with hints of country. Songs range from love ballads (I Want to Be Closer) to a mini-tragic tale of love gone wrong (Twelve Candles); family dynamics (Big House Blues, Six Years On The Road). Other songs are just plain fun (Six Weeks In A Plaster Cast); outh Of the Border (Good Old USA) is a satirical look at the USA from a Canadian perspective. The title track “The Breath In The Wind” is written in memory of the loss of a mother.
Virginia McIsaac wrote, “Howard Gladstone shapes ordinary words into beautiful visions… these are songs of strength and courage.. with lyrics (that) bite into the social conscience of humanity and touch us right in the heart …(and) arrangements that really make the songs interesting” in reference to Gladstone’s previous album. It serves as an apt description of what Gladstone is continuing with the release of “The Breath In The Wind.”
More songs on www.myspace.com/howardgladstonemusic
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