Album of the Week – ‘Fjord’ by Briana Cowlishaw and Gavin Ahearn
‘Fjord’ by Briana Cowlishaw and Gavin Ahearn is Eastside Radio’s Album of the Week.
Inspired by an enduring friendship and created amongst the breathtaking hillsides of Norway, the album explores the intricate musical relationship between voice and piano. With a lead up time of five years to being finally recorded in October of 2014, the slow-buring creative process was a culmination of the artists understanding of each other’s approach to their instruments. The album is bare and raw to its core, leaving no room for error or to hide amongst the duo, a concept that would frighten many an artist however given their familiarity with one another’s abilities, the pair gladly embrace the challenge. The duo were also able to effortlessly present a work without ego or tension given that each instrument could easily, and has often been the case in the past, have fronted a band scenario.
The album beautifully showcases the light and shade of each artists abilities. Highly emotive compositions like ‘The Mountain Changing Face’, the etherial ‘Vertigo’ and the album’s title track, express a varied pallet from sadness to confusion, excitement to passion through Ahearn’s choral arrangements gracefully ebbing and falling to support the soaring melodies sung out by Cowlishaw’s meticulously precise vocals. There is also many a lighthearted moment to be had with tracks such as ‘Fool on the Hill’ and the artist’s interpretation of the classic ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’. Only twice, do they invite an outside party to the creative process, guitarist Hugh Stucky and Gary Hoffman on Flugelhorn, on tracks seven and at respectively.
Stucky improvises a haunting melody that is very sensitive to the emotional nature of the work. Hoffman embraces the naive romanic notion of the work in ‘I Said’, seamlessly integrating himself into the piece as he gradually builds a solo from a quite and almost muted introduction to a more rhythmic melody line reflecting the tremulous internalised emotions of a lover denied. Ultimately, both musicians have understood what it takes to create a versatile body of work that exposes an audience to the many avenues the jazz discipline can introduce an artist to.
Briana Cowlishaw – Voice
Gavin Ahearn – Piano
Hugh Stucky – Guitar (tk. 7)
Gary Hoffman – Flugelhorn (tk. 8)
1. The Gentle Rain
2. Fjord (original)
3. Detour Ahead
4. Fool on the Hill
5. The Mountains Changing Face
6. Stompin’ at the Savoy
8. I Said
You can follow Briana Cowlishaw career via her FACEBOOK or TWITTER pages, or at www.brianacowlishaw.com. Be sure to tune in this week to 89.7FM EASTSIDE RADIO for your chance to WIN a copy of ‘Fjord’ by Briana Cowlishaw and Gavin Ahearn. You must be a supporter to win so make sure to sign up at http://eastsidefm.org/support-us-2/. Don’t forget you can also stream the station at WWW.EASTSIDEFM.ORG.