4.8 16
by Natalie Merchant

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Teaming up with T-Bone Burnett was a good, healthy move for Natalie Merchant. She had begun to sink into vaguely tuneless singer/songwriterisms with her second solo album, Ophelia, and the sag in artistic quality was notable -- which may have been why she bought time with a live album in 1999. Burnett helps restore some musical backbone to her music on…  See more details below


Teaming up with T-Bone Burnett was a good, healthy move for Natalie Merchant. She had begun to sink into vaguely tuneless singer/songwriterisms with her second solo album, Ophelia, and the sag in artistic quality was notable -- which may have been why she bought time with a live album in 1999. Burnett helps restore some musical backbone to her music on Motherland, even if the record is hardly a gritty affair (apart from Merchant's voice, which seems to have deepened and grown tougher since the last time out). Still, there's some character within the sound -- atmospheric, blues post-folk-rock, music that breathes -- not nearly as precious as Tigerlily or any of the 10,000 Maniacs' records, for that matter, while retaining Merchant's signature sound. Upon first listen, none of the songs announce themselves, yet it all sticks together, and repeated plays reveal Motherland as a subtle grower that will satisfy her large cult.

Product Details

Release Date:
Elektra / Wea

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Natalie Merchant   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals,fender rhodes
Van Dyke Parks   Accordion
Guy Klucevsek   Accordion
Stephen Barber   Conductor
Matt Chamberlain   Percussion,Drums
Karen Dreyfus   Viola
Mitch Estrin   Bass Clarinet
Bob Glaub   Bass
Tony Kadleck   Trumpet
David Krakauer   Clarinet
Greg Leisz   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Mandolin,12-string Guitar
Graham Maby   Bass
Phillip Myers   French Horn
Sandra Park   Violin
David Ralicke   Trombone,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Laura Seaton   Violin
Mavis Staples   Vocals
Patrick Warren   chamberlain,Pump Organ
Erik Della Penna   Banjo,Electric Guitar,Oud,Classical Guitar,Bazouki,Lap Steel Guitar
Mike Elizondo   Bass
Ann Kim   Violin
Sara Selver   Cello
Sharon Yamada   Violin
Karen Marks   Violin
Bruno Eicher   Violin
Gabriel Gordon   Electric Guitar,E-bow
Elizabeth Dyson   Cello
Lisa Kim   Violin
Fiona Simon   Violin
Keefus   Piano,Keyboards
Sandra Church   Alto Flute
Nick Cords   Viola
Katie Daley   Voices
Kelly Daley   Voices
Vivek Kamath   Viola
Krystof Kuznik   Violin
Jeremy McCoy   Bass
Elizabeth Steen   Mellotron
Jung Sun Yoo   Violin
Robert Shaw   Violin
Alan Stepansky   Cello
Soohyun Kwon   Violin

Technical Credits

Stephen Barber   Arranger
T Bone Burnett   Producer
Natalie Merchant   Producer
Sandra Park   String Contractor
Jim Scott   Engineer
Mike Piersante   Engineer
Paul Ackling   Guitar Techician

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Motherland 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Motherland, Natalie is at her best and most musically and thematically versatile. Natalie mourns, scorns, helps, and gives hope in these twelve tracks. The music is just so gorgeous- she blends folk, rock, pop, soul, a little Spanish, and a little Middle Eastern music to create hauntingly beautiful art that can be enjoyed by anyone who willingly listens to these songs. Highly recommended- one of the best albums released this year.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really don't even know what to say...Natalie Merchant has taken a great leap in her artistry through her release of Motherland. From the open ''This House is On Fire'' with it's Arabic influences to the ending Aretha Franklin-esque ''I'm not Gonna Beg'' the listener is never, ever let down. I know in the past Natlie has been known as the 10,000 Maniac front woman, but now she has been on her own for almost ten years and she is still an amazing asset to the music industry. Her music is incredibly touching and profound. She says things I never thought anyone else really thought's comforting. Lyrics dealing with the death of love, the pains of idolism, and encouraging the listener that even she know ''it just can't last'' through her first single from the album. I thought her Tigerlily release was her best work until now, she brings back a lot of her 10,000 Maniac folkish sounds while embarking into her own terain. What a Woman! She really desrerves much more recognition then she gets, jeez, even David Letterman asked her to come back for a second night in a row! That's got something to say in itself! I know many critics keep looking at her art for what it isn't (10,000 Maniac/Pop goddess)it's time to look at it for what it is, genuine and intriguing. It'll Grow On You!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I did not think it possible to top her last two albums, ''Tigerlily'' and ''Ophelia'', however I was proved wrong. This is album is full of diverse songs and moving lyrics. Natile Merchant has truly blossomed since her departure from 10,000 Maniacs. All praises for her artistic efforts!
Guest More than 1 year ago
For me, Motherland was a long-anticipated release. Even though Natalie Merchant was touring constantly, including to support the live album she released after Ophelia, there is always the yearning for something new from her. Motherland is nothing less than what I expected... and so much more. I've been following Miss Merchant for about 14 years, from her 10,000 Maniacs days up to now. Of everything she's done that I've heard to date, I find this album to be the most fluid. You know what I mean? You can put it in the CD player and you're not even tempted to skip a song. One of my main reasons for following Miss Merchant is her lyrics. In Motherland, her storytelling voice is subtly pointed, and executed like when your best friend is giving you advice: whether you asked for it or not. Congratulations, Miss Merchant, on another accomplishment. More importantly, thank you for coming through again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one smooth album. I enjoyed the string arrangements and as always the expressive vocals. But it never kicks up the cyclone of sentimental feel good that some of her albums have generated. Neither does it rock you to the bone like her live album did! But all in all, it is worth the time and bucks for she again says something worth listening to!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm only writing this for those of you who haven't experienced Natalie Merchant yet. This release like everything else she has ever done is right up there with the best that music has to offer. Not a lot of you have heard her stuff cause, let's face it, she's not the most popular singer in the world and her albums don't sell that many copies. But she consistantly out does everyone that is more popular and that may always sell a boatload of copies. Just get the album and listen to it and if you don't like it then go listen to NSync or Britney Spears cause Natlaie Merchant obviously isn't for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been a Natalie fan since early Maniac's days. After several listens I can honestly say that Motherland is her strongest grouping of songs to date. All the songs are very fluid and carry you onto the next one. I've just seen her live for the third time and the Motherland songs sound even better live while she dances to them! There's nothing like her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just downloaded the track 'Motherland' ... a great song ... love that moment when you first hear a classic ... the moment I first heard the Replacement's 'Dissatisfied' ... Husker Du's 'Celebrated Summer' ... the Clash's 'London Calling' ... 'Motherland' reminds me of early Dylan/Baez ... folky ... spare ... musically light ... floating ... but heavy with content ... a great song ...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Motherland has just a chilling feel to it. Not in a bad way, though! It's so awesome to hear such a powerful voice teamed with deep lyrics and intense instrumentals. Bottom line... This is an awesome album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw a letter that Natalie wrote on a George Harrison fan-site. It is wonderful to hear how much Natalie was affected by George's music. You can definitely hear the influence on MOTHERLAND. I love how this album can somehow be dark & positive at the same time. In my opinion, it is her best album yet.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since 1981, Natalie Merchant has been blessing us with her beautiful voice and inspiring lyrics. Now, at the age of 38, Natalie has created a true masterpiece. This album is so hard to describe, as it's so amazing that there are not enough words to describe it. The album's opener, ''This House is on Fire'', has a Middle Eastern flare while the album's closer, ''I'm Not Gonna Beg'', is a mainly piano ballad about begging for love (I know that sounds silly but the song is actually quite touching). Natalie's voice has never been so beautiful and strong and her voice is reason enough to buy the album. Longtime Natalie fans will enjoy this, but this is definately not for someone who enjoys listening to top 40 nonsense.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As someone who warmed to Natalie very slowly, this album sat in my backseat for over a year until I put it into my cd player. It has been in my cd player at home, at work and in my car for three months straight now. I need to buy three copies so I don't have to keep moving it! While her lyrics are powerful, her voice resonates with a far greater power and depth. Her previous album - Ophelia - had been playing over and over in my car, having taken a while for me to fully enjoy that cd also. The album, each song after the other - takes patience to receive and enjoy as a whole. It may take a while - but it's worth the repeat listenings when you finally slide into the atmosphere Natalie Merchant creates.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was given this CD as a gift, and played it as soon as I could. It's different than Natalie Merchant's other album I have- Tigerlily- but also just as good, in a different way. The music gave me a western feel, something I've never really heard before, but enjoyed nevertheless. Her voice is the same in that it is still powerful yet quiet, and the music has the same sound while being completely different. It's hard to explain, but the album seemed like more of Tigerlily, but at the same time something that sounded like an album by another artist. The music has the same backup/accompiant feel, yet it was still a huge part of the song. I was impressed. Let's just say I'm ever-grateful to the person who gave me this fantastic album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album helped me stay strong to get out of a brutal marriage. Even 5 years after it's a kick of energy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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