Sugaring Season

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Sugaring Season is Beth Orton's first album in six years. Reportedly, she almost gave up music in the interim. Recorded in Portland, Oregon with producer Tucker Martine, the album finds her accompanied by a stellar backing band -- keyboardist Rob Burger, bassist Sebastian Steinberg, and jazz drummer Brian Blade -- as well as a sterling array of guests including guitarist Marc Ribot, violinist Eyvind Kang, and her husband, songwriter and guitarist Sam Amidon, to name a few. The title refers to the time of year when maple trees are "tapped"; gallons of sap are collected, then boiled down to remove their bitterness; the slight remainder is used for maple syrup. It's a metaphor ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Sugaring Season is Beth Orton's first album in six years. Reportedly, she almost gave up music in the interim. Recorded in Portland, Oregon with producer Tucker Martine, the album finds her accompanied by a stellar backing band -- keyboardist Rob Burger, bassist Sebastian Steinberg, and jazz drummer Brian Blade -- as well as a sterling array of guests including guitarist Marc Ribot, violinist Eyvind Kang, and her husband, songwriter and guitarist Sam Amidon, to name a few. The title refers to the time of year when maple trees are "tapped"; gallons of sap are collected, then boiled down to remove their bitterness; the slight remainder is used for maple syrup. It's a metaphor for these ten songs. While Orton's lyrics are as mercurial as ever, there is a sense of a life cycle here. She semi-details travails during a period of waiting and confusion with no clear direction in "Magpie." Its last line offers a darkly tinged surrender: "Silence me and I won't be here anymore." The drama in the tune is picked up by Kang's viola, Blade's insistent, syncopated shuffle, and the interplay between Ribot's electric guitar and Amidon's high-tuned acoustic and her own. Orton took regular lessons with the late Bert Jansch toward the end of his life, and it shows here. Her playing shines throughout. Her singing voice, which has been her trademark since "Central Reservation," is richer, fuller, more assertive here than ever before. "Candles" features her live vocal atop a rehearsal take -- her band didn't know she was taping. The deep register of cello, Burger's slippery electric piano, and Blade's brushwork capture the moment of creation perfectly, while her voice is unrestrained in its response. "See Through Blue," with its old-timey waltz arrangement, is a song written for her daughter. This might have been a maudlin moment on the album; it's not. Instead, it is sprightly and mellifluous, as Nico Muhly's string arrangement meets Burger's clipped upright piano, with a strolling bassline and her voice shifting gears through her register, from smoky contralto to falsetto. Closer "Mystery" is among the most beautiful songs Orton's ever written. It's elliptical, open-ended, and free of the world-weariness that has often reigned in her singing voice. The song is an offer of solace and comfort. It offers respite as it whispers to a close. Sugaring Season is sophisticated, mature, and rife with quiet passion. Its songs are informed by the struggles inherent in everyday life, but also account for dreams, small triumphs, and the redemptive power of love. It is a most welcome return from exile.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/2/2012
  • Label: Anti
  • UPC: 045778711826
  • Catalog Number: 87118
  • Sales rank: 9,028

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Magpie (4:32)
  2. 2 Dawn Chorus (3:23)
  3. 3 Candles (3:45)
  4. 4 Something More Beautiful (3:27)
  5. 5 Call Me the Breeze (3:52)
  6. 6 Poison Tree (4:05)
  7. 7 See Through Blue (1:54)
  8. 8 Last Leaves of Autumn (4:00)
  9. 9 State of Grace (4:14)
  10. 10 Mystery (4:07)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Beth Orton Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Marc Ribot Electric Guitar, Guitar (Nylon String)
Brian Blade Percussion, Drums
Bob Burger Piano, Accordion, Harmonium, Pump Organ, Wurlitzer
Sebastian Steinberg Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass
Tucker Martine Percussion
Ted Barnes Acoustic Guitar, Banjo
Eyvind Kang Viola
Sam Amidon Organ, Guitar, Violin, Background Vocals, Guitar (Nashville)
Nate Query Bass
Laura Veirs Background Vocals
Carl Broemel Electric Guitar
Ben Russell Violin
Caroline Shaw Violin
Rob Moose Violin
Clarice Jensen Cello
Nadia Sirota Viola
Yuki Numata Violin
Technical Credits
William Blake Composer
Greg Calbi Mastering
Beth Orton Arranger, Composer
Tom Rowlands Composer
Oliver Kraus String Arrangements
Beki Doe String Arrangements
Tucker Martine Producer, Engineer
Sean Read Vocal Engineer
M. Ward Composer
Ewan Art Direction
Nico Muhly String Arrangements
Rob Moose String Arrangements
Jason Quigley Inside Photo
Clémence Desrochers Composer
Oscar Art Direction
Pierre Brault Composer
Jo Metson Scott Cover Photo
Francis Lardeau Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 25, 2012

    This is by far Beth Orton's best work! It's one of those CD's th

    This is by far Beth Orton's best work! It's one of those CD's that you want to listen to over and over and over again!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Stripped of the sometimes distracting electronica elements of he

    Stripped of the sometimes distracting electronica elements of her past solo work, Beth let's her unmistakably beautiful voice take center stage on "Sugaring Season."
    Opening with the gorgeous "Magpie," the tone is set for, perhaps, the best batch of songs of Beth's career.
    This album invokes elements of Joni Mitchell & Bert Jansch, with a feel that is much more purely folk based, than her earlier work.
    The album also has a wonderful maturity about it, a sense that these songs are from an incredibly pure place, with a sense of reflection and assessment.
    The production and backing musicians, are also stellar.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews