Sparks of Ancient Light

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Though it was released in 2008, Sparks of Ancient Light sounds very much like a '70s Al Stewart record that happens to be lacking the more elaborate features of '70s rock music production. And that's a good thing, allowing what have always been Stewart's principal strengths -- pleasant haunting melodies, mellifluous vocals, accomplished folk guitar work, and literate, historical-minded lyrics -- to stand at the forefront, undiminished by extraneous arrangements. With the passing of years, Stewart's songwriting became increasingly history-focused, and that's quite evident from the songs on this record, which address topics and eras rarely dealt with in pop music. As ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
Though it was released in 2008, Sparks of Ancient Light sounds very much like a '70s Al Stewart record that happens to be lacking the more elaborate features of '70s rock music production. And that's a good thing, allowing what have always been Stewart's principal strengths -- pleasant haunting melodies, mellifluous vocals, accomplished folk guitar work, and literate, historical-minded lyrics -- to stand at the forefront, undiminished by extraneous arrangements. With the passing of years, Stewart's songwriting became increasingly history-focused, and that's quite evident from the songs on this record, which address topics and eras rarely dealt with in pop music. As just a partial sampling, there are looks at the innocence of the Eisenhower years, the fall of the Shah of Iran, and Elvis Presley's vision of Stalin in the clouds (a real-life incident, not a songwriter's fantasy). There's even an ode to early 20th-century U.S. president William McKinley. Several of the songs not sparked by specific historical incidents are imbued with images of wandering, seafaring, and nostalgia (though from a third-person character sketch perspective), though the opening line of "Silver Kettle" ("and in the last days of the world of plastic records") indicates it's actually set in recent times. The production and arrangements by Laurence Juber (who also plays guitar on the album) are straightforward, clear, and tasteful on this quite respectable recording by a veteran singer/songwriter.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/16/2008
  • Label: Appleseed Records
  • UPC: 611587111227
  • Catalog Number: 1112

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Al Stewart Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Albert Hammond Background Vocals
Laurence Juber Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Rick Baptist Trumpet
Jim Cox Organ, Piano
Richard Dodd Cello
John Ferraro Percussion, Drums
Eric Gorfain Violin
Daphne Chen Violin
Leah Katz Viola
John "Hot Fat Reynolds" Ferraro Percussion, Drums
Mark Macisso Harmonica
Hope Easton Cello
Domenic Genova Bass Guitar
Technical Credits
Al Stewart Composer
Laurence Juber Arranger, Producer, Engineer, Audio Production
Joe Gastwirt Mastering
Greg Townley Engineer
Steve Chapman Management
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