My Foolish Heart
One of my all-time favourite albums by anyone ever is Diary by Ralph Towner. What a beautiful and tranquil thing that is. And I found it because, on a whim, I was desperate for more Ralph Towner because, up to that point, and I guess beyond, one of my favourite Ralph Towner albums was (and is) Anthem – which I discovered in the best possible way when it comes to music: by fluke (glorious fluke).
Something about those late-night reveries of soft-focus, tight-discipline night-guitar struck, erm, a chord with me. Stayed with me then, and still. And there’s just something so pure about Towner in folkie-goes-classical-touches-on-nocturnal-jazz mode.
And so here it is once again with My Foolish Heart, a record recorded a couple of years ago now and out on the shelves – if that’s where you still go for your music – for at least a year. But no matter, Towner is timeless.
There’s something (so precious) in the way he lets a not ring out – here there’s a shining early example on I’ll Sing To You, where you feel like you’re in the room as the slight buzz from the frets sneaks its way into the mood of the song. And with Saunter his fingers creep over the strings and there’s the way, on the title track, that he pauses his attack – takes you along for the ride, slowly, surely, you’re there with him. Again, in the room. Damn-near sitting on the shoulder of the song. If there were words you’d be first to sing along.
Ralph Towner conjures the nostalgia you know you never knew, but still those autumn hues. Those vagabond blues. Some huckleberry shoes…
This is one of Towner’s most complete albums; a masterpiece from a master – you sit and listen to this in awe, he is less-is-more and yet he still manages to fit in more than what a lot have got, his offerings are obvious, from the strong chordal stomp of Dolomiti Dance to the glancing prance of Clarion Call. You can see where James Blackshaw went to school.
I love Ralph Towner’s music. The best of it melts into my soul. And this is a late-career peak from one of the greats.
Ralph Towner is 78.
Ralph Towner is super-great.
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