Leave Your Sleep

( 34 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Throughout her career, Natalie Merchant has thrived on exceeding her own expectations -- no matter where her Muses led or her critics forbade her to go. Her last album, 2003's The House Carpenter's Daughter, rooted in American and British Isles folk traditions, was a stepping stone toward Leave Your Sleep. Where the former's songs were made of originals and covers, the latter marries them in sung poetry and original music from various traditions. Co-produced by Merchant and Andres Levin, the double-disc Leave Your Sleep contains 26 new songs recorded live in the studio. She used the poems, anonymous nursery rhymes, and lullabies of 19th and 20th century British and American ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Throughout her career, Natalie Merchant has thrived on exceeding her own expectations -- no matter where her Muses led or her critics forbade her to go. Her last album, 2003's The House Carpenter's Daughter, rooted in American and British Isles folk traditions, was a stepping stone toward Leave Your Sleep. Where the former's songs were made of originals and covers, the latter marries them in sung poetry and original music from various traditions. Co-produced by Merchant and Andres Levin, the double-disc Leave Your Sleep contains 26 new songs recorded live in the studio. She used the poems, anonymous nursery rhymes, and lullabies of 19th and 20th century British and American writers as source material and set them to original music. Among the authors included are Ogden Nash, e.e. cummings, Robert Louis Stevenson, Christina Rossetti, Edward Lear, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mervyn Peake, Eleanor Farjeon, Nathalia Crane, and Robert Graves. Poetry is but one part of the story, however. Merchant composed music from across the genre spectrum: New Orleans swing on "Bleezer's Ice Cream" (Jack Prelutsky) and Crane's "The Janitor's Boy" are performed by Merchant fronting the Wynton Marsalis Orchestra; the Yiddish folk music of "Dancing Bear" (Albert Bigelow Paine) pairs her with the Klezmatics; Peake's "It Makes a Change" is performed by Medeski, Martin & Wood with a horn section; "If No One Ever Marries Me" (Laurence Alan-Tameda) is Appalachian backporch music with hammered dulcimer, banjo, upright bass, and guitar. "The Blind Men and the Elephant" (John Godfrey Saxe) is cabaret jazz played by Hazmat Modine with the Fairfield Four and the Ditty Bops on backing vocals. Stevenson's "Land of Nod" is a gorgeous orchestral piece with a Celtic flavor. Speaking of Celtic, Rosetti's "Crying, My Little One" is performed by Lunasa backing Merchant. Through it all, of course, is that voice, Merchant's throaty trademark. It expresses itself emotionally, honestly, and precisely, without resorting to dramatic tropes to get meaning across. The album closes first with Hopkins' contemplative, melancholy "Spring and Fall: To a Young Child," with a symphony orchestrated by Merchant and Sean O'Loughlin, and finally with Lydia Huntley Sigourney's haunting "Indian Names" by a string quartet accompanied by Joseph Fire Crow on Native American flutes, drums, rattles, and narrative, with chanting by Jennifer Kreisberg. It sends the set off much where it begins, illustrating poetry's ability to provide its own musical instruction, comfort, poignancy, and sense of wonder to the experience of everyday living. Merchant succeeds in spades; the extensive research and discipline pay off handsomely. Leave Your Sleep is easily her most ambitious work, yet because of that welcoming voice, it provides familiarity enough to gather listeners inside this world of sound.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/13/2010
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597980394
  • Catalog Number: 522304
  • Sales rank: 6,031

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Nursery Rhyme of Innocence and Experience - Lúnasa (5:11)
  2. 2 Equestrienne - Meridian Arts Ensemble (4:38)
  3. 3 Calico Pie (2:41)
  4. 4 Bleezer's Ice-Cream (5:17)
  5. 5 It Makes a Change - Medeski, Martin & Wood (3:31)
  6. 6 The King of China's Daughter (2:39)
  7. 7 The Dancing Bear (5:37)
  8. 8 The Man In the Wilderness (3:44)
  9. 9 Maggie and Milly and Molly and May (4:08)
  10. 10 If No One Ever Marries Me (2:21)
  11. 11 The Sleepy Giant (3:19)
  12. 12 The Peppery Man - Hazmat Modine (5:05)
  13. 13 The Blind Men And the Elephant - Hazmat Modine (5:33)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Adventures of Isabel (3:25)
  2. 2 The Walloping Window Blind - Lúnasa (4:17)
  3. 3 Topsyturvey-World (5:09)
  4. 4 The Janitor's Boy - Ditty Bops (3:52)
  5. 5 Griselda (5:50)
  6. 6 The Land of Nod (4:06)
  7. 7 Vain and Careless (4:44)
  8. 8 Crying, My Little One - Lúnasa (2:27)
  9. 9 Sweet and a Lullaby (3:05)
  10. 10 I Saw a Ship a-Sailing - Lúnasa (2:13)
  11. 11 Autumn Lullaby (3:22)
  12. 12 Spring and Fall: To a Young Child (3:06)
  13. 13 Indian Names (5:52)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Natalie Merchant Primary Artist
Bobby Wood Piano, Wurlitzer
Bill Spence Hammered Dulcimer
John Roberts Concertina, Voices
Eddie Allen Trumpet
Andy Bassford Guitar
Sterling Campbell Drums
Gene Chrisman Drums
Greg Cohen Bass
Joseph Daley Tuba
Matt Darriau Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Karen Dreyfus Viola
Steve Elson Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone, B-Flat Clarinet
Bobby Emmons Hammond Organ
Isaac Freeman Vocals
Clark Gayton Trombone
Victor Goines Clarinet
Wycliffe Gordon Trombone
Lisa Gutkin Fiddle
Jack Hale Trombone
Trevor Hutchinson Upright Bass
Judy Hyman Fiddle
Wayne Jackson Trumpet
Birch Johnson Tenor Trombone
Katell Keineg Vocals
Jennifer Kreisberg Chant
Jeanne LeBlanc Cello
Dan Levine Tuba, Alto Horn, Bass Trombone
Frank London Trumpet, Alto Horn
Wynton Marsalis Trumpet
Larry McDonald Percussion
John Medeski Piano
Sandra Park Violin
Erik Ralske French Horn
Lorin Sklamberg Accordion
Jim Spake Saxophone
Paul Sutton Drums
Howard Wall French Horn
Joanne Williams Vocals
Reggie Young Guitar
Billy Martin Drums
Amanda Barrett Vocals
Walter Blanding Saxophone
Lino Gomez Bass Clarinet
Sherry Sylar Oboe
Kevin Crawford Flute, Vocals, Bodhran, tin whistle, Low Whistle
Joe Rice Vocals
Michael Leonhart Trumpet
Joseph Fire Crow Drums, Rattles, Native American Flute, Spoken Word
Richie Stearns Banjo
Erik Della Penna Guitar
Bruce Creditor Clarinet
Benjamin Herrington Trombone
Marc Goldberg Bassoon
Sean Smyth Fiddle
Artis Wodehouse Pump Organ
Daniel Grabois Horn
Chris Wood Bass
Nina Stern Recorder, Chalumeau
Anne Lehmann Violin
Horace James Keyboards
Carlos Henríquez Bass
Eileen Moon Cello
Sharon Yamada Violin
Owen Young Cello
Robert Rinehart Viola
Marc Friedman Bass
Phil Myers French Horn
Gabriel Gordon Guitar
Robert Hamlett Vocals
Cillian Vallely uillean pipes, Low Whistle
Lisa Kim Violin
Deidre Rodman Harpsichord
Paul Meehan Acoustic Guitar
Jeremy McCoy Bass
George Flynn Bass Trombone
Gerald Johnson Saxophone
Doug Wamble Banjo, Guitar
Shan Jiang Violin
Brian McWhorter Trumpet
Abby DeWald Vocals
Mark Murphy Upright Bass
Michael Leech Bass
Edward Hall Vocals
Uri Sharlin Accordion
Greg Heffernan Cello
Dan Nimmer Piano
Richie Barshay Snare Drums, Frame Drum, Poyk
Minyoung Baik Violin
Pete Smith Banjo, Electric Guitar
Michael Gomez Dobro, Lap Steel Guitar
Dan Aran Percussion, Drums
Mike Davis Tenor Trombone
Arnaud Sussmann Violin
Kimberly Miller Vocals
Michelle Baker French Horn
Gilad Harel Clarinet
Kyle Turner Tuba
Raymond G. Stewart Tuba
Jon Nelson Trumpet
Motomi Igarashi Viola Da Gamba
Mihail Jojatu Cello
Ina Zdorovetchi Harp
William Barrett Chromatic Harmonica
Joseph Thompson Vocals
Paul Morrisset Bass Guitar, Baritone Horn
Erik Charlston Percussion
Pam Fleming Trumpet
Rich Huntley Drums
Sun Li Pipa
Wang Guo Wei Erhu
Weng Po Wei Dizi
Jessica Lizak Flute
Hoova Simpson Bass
Dieter Hennings Acoustic Guitar, Lute, Theorbo, Baroque Guitar
Alberto Parrini Cello
Matt Lehmann Violin
Technical Credits
Ogden Nash Composer, Text
Jack Prelutsky Composer, Text, Photo Courtesy
Stephen Barber Arranger, Orchestration, String Arrangements
Nick Brophy Engineer
Clark Gayton Horn Arrangements
Andres Levin Producer
Wynton Marsalis Arranger
Natalie Merchant Arranger, Composer, Producer, Orchestration, String Arrangements, Introduction
Jim Spake Horn Arrangements
Michael Leonhart Horn Arrangements
Paul Antonell Studio Manager
Mark Seliger Cover Photo
Robert C. Ludwig Mastering
e.e. cummings Composer, Text
Nick Wollage Engineer
Eleanor Farjeon Composer, Text
Sarah Cullen Licensing
Carla Sacks Publicity
Mervyn Peake Composer, Text
Matthew Rankin Publicity
Charles Causley Composer, Text
Robert Edridge-Waks Editorial Manager
Sean O'Loughlin Orchestration, String Arrangements
Anne Harvey Photo Courtesy
Sebastian Wintermute Photo Restoration
Joseph Martin Kronheim Illustrations
David Rands Photo Courtesy
Nathalia Crane Composer, Text
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 10, 2011

    Recently purchased and very highly recommend.

    Heard an interview on Public Radio and was impressed. I had forgotten that Natalie Merchant sang with the 10,000 Maniacs. Purchase the double CD package and have been playing it every day. Even read and played some of the pieces to 3 of my young grandchildren. My wife also loves this. Anyone who loves poetry should buy this. Anyone who loves music should buy this. Anyone who loves children should buy this for them and then read other similar pieces to them. Did I say my wife loved this - we don't always agree on music but we do on this. Marvelous is too mild a word. Even the darkerside of some of these pieces seem gorgeous in this presentation. Very well done. Mannington Phil

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Leave Your Preconceptions at the Door

    Natalie Merchant does it again with Leave Your Sleep. Leave your preconceptions at the door when you listen to these songs as they are not her lyrical creations. With this album Natalie not only interprets the poems individually but uses the fruits of her research on the authors to give her an understanding of the topic and the emotions involved in each piece and then shares that with us in the short book that accompanies the discs.
    Not only is this album a gift to the listener by letting us hear poems most of us have hardly ever heard spoken, let alone sung, but it is a flattering gift to each an every one of the poets whose work was chosen for this album.
    The music is both relaxing and fun. I'm very pleased with this album, but must confess that Natalie Merchant has never left me disappointed . . . only wanting more.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Best Musical Poems

    Natalie Merchant has put music to 26 poems most of us have probably never heard of. That's great. It broadens our horizons. The poems are primarily children's poems because, as Ms. Merchant says in the liner notes, this album originated as a gift to her daughter.

    The music as well as the poems are wonderful. The music crosses all genres. The poems are wonderful. The liner notes includes biographies and photos of each poet, so they are humanized instead of abstract people with no face.

    I knew vritually nothing of Natalie Merchant prior to this--yeah maybe a 10,000 Maniacs song or two, but now I'm scheduled to see her in concert. I can't recommend this CD enough.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not only the music, there's more ...

    The Editorial Review introduces the musical content better than I can.

    This purchase was a most pleasant surprise. I purchased after seeing an interview on TV. Children's poetry into musical compositions? Why not?

    I'm more into classical and jazz from the '50's through the '80's, and I had no prior experience with Natalie Merchant's work.

    Packaging and liner notes. Before I even heard a cut, I was impressed. Take off the shrink-wrap, and out slides a nifty little bound book. Inside the book, at front and back, are two pages as sleeves for the CDs. Between are pages of liner notes. Following Natalie Merchant's Introduction is her research on each poem and the poet. With pictures. Shades of vinyl.

    I was so taken by the presentation, I read before I began listening to the songs. Not everything, but about three or four.

    Also in the book, at the back under Credits, are listed, by track, arrangers and musicians, ie. contributing artists.

    After listening to the two CDs (more than once), and drifting through the histories, purchased a second as a gift. Both purchases were at $24.99. It's worth it.

    This was a labor of love. It shows. Thanks Natalie Merchant.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Leave Your Sleep by Natalie Merchant is the gift that keeps on giving and my CD choice of the year!

    From the poems to the melodies to the stellar musical accompanists to the accompanying pocket-size book, this record is a treasure trove!

    Leave Your Sleep is a collection of Victorian era (for the most part) poems set to fabulous and varied arrangements. Ms. Merchant offers this 2 CD set with an accompanying book that includes the poem, a short write-up and photograph of the poet, and the stellar list of musicians/artists involved on each track.

    The musical arrangements are rich and thematically varied including a Topsyturvey-world to a reggae beat, a frolicking sea shanty of a Walloping Window Blind, a New Orleans jazzy Janitor's Boy, a bluesy Peppery Man, and a soaring Land of Nod that is so developed musically it could be the score to a full length motion picture. And that just touches the surface.

    Finally, this is a children's album for adults and an adult album for children. This CD is our current choice for car music and with my athletic ten year old singing along and engaging in car conversations about poetry and musical styles and the Indian names of U.S. waterways, all is right with the world!

    I recommend this for yourself your family and everyone on your gift list!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    The voice sells it!

    Natalie's voice is as profound as ever and easy on the ears, but the arrangements had too many fiddles for me. I prefer her love songs and life songs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great from start to finish

    Natalie Merchant has always had a compelling voice, but sometimes with earlier recordings that voice got a little bit lost in the arrangements. Her new album is a 2-CD set of quirky poems & nursery rhymes set to all sorts of music: classical, folk, jazz, rock, reggae. It's really wonderful, and that amazing voice is front and center. The tones range all over the map, from dreamy to brassy and yet the album seems like a seamless whole. A real treat is the beautiful packaging, complete with very detailed liner notes by Merchant on each poem that she set to music. Don't be tempted by the single-CD abbreviated version also on sale. It's well worth getting the complete, 2 disc version.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Keeps you on your toes!

    Every song on the album has its own flavor and message, and the 80-page book built into the CD packaging only enhances each song with explanations of its origin. From Nursery Rhymes to discussions with her daughter, Natalie Merchant weaves a tale of childhood that sparks the imagination and rejuvenates the soul.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This is absolutely Amazing

    I heard about this album on a radio interview with Natalie Merchant. She played a couple the songs from the disc live. It was very impressive so I ordered a copy right away. When I received the CD, the quality of the whole package (book and notes) was again impressive but what took my breath away was the quality not only of the material but of the recording itself. If you have a decent system, this recording will make it shine as well as make you smile. Back to the material, it varies nicely with a consistency that is never jarring but rather inviting. When a song is finished, you wonder what will happen next ?(like a good book!) Perhaps that is how I would describe the feeling I have when I listen to these disc, I am in a state of wonderment. It was said it took 7 years for Ms Merchant to come out with this concept. It was well worth the wait.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great change of pace

    I bought this CD after hearing an interview with the artist and a few samplings of a couple of songs on a radio program. I thought my grandson, who is 1 yr. old, might like it but there are only a handful of songs that I really feel he would enjoy. It is a 2 CD set and comes with a "book" with information on the poems used and the authors; very nice! The songs and tunes are fun and a great change of pace from most of the music out today. Some of it is what I would describe as folk tunes but she has also included reggae and jazz. A great buy!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Can't stop listening....

    I want to buy a copy for everyone I know. So much fun, I don't mind my commute anymore! So hard to describe I could not do it justice. Thank you Natalie, for a truly poetic masterpiece!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Beautiful, just beautiful.

    We've just listened to the 2-disc set all the way through, and are listening again with the accompanying liner notes. What a beautiful, eclectic mix Ms. merchant has created. Her voice is stronger and more soulful and spirited than ever. I will buy this for everyone on my gift list this year, for any occasion. This is music to share, and bound to be counted as one of the best albums of the year.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    This is a MUST BUY for any Natalie Merchant fan

    Natalie's long awaited CD is certainly worth the wait. Full featured from the first track to the last. It is a rich mixture of music done perfectly. Her writing and arrangements are top notch. I would be hard pressed to say what my favorite track is.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Unparalleled

    This is an extremely ambitious album, pulled off with delicious wit and grace. Natalie deserves every accolade she will receive. My ears are happy.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Leave Her CD...

    Natalie may have been better off remaining asleep. She has a wonderful voice, but this new material does not have nearly the commercial appeal of her past material. It is the type of music one might share with his or her children around the house, with few of the songs having the potential of becoming family favories. Natalie was obviously inspired to write these songs, but I think the audience appeal will be limited. She is a very talented artist, however, and I admire her ambitions to go with what she believes in. I hope I'm wrong in my predictions for this CD and certainly wish Natalie success and happiness in her personal and professional life!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews