MP3 Andy Thornton - Sunflower Girl
Komplettes MP3 Album von Andy Thornton
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Kurz-Beschreibung von CDbaby: Thoughtful intelligent music; rock with a roots attitude.
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Many albums profess to chart the familiar territories of love, loss and re-birth, but few can make the claim as acutely as singer-songwriter Andy Thornton’s latest offering, Sunflower Girl.
Written in the year following the loss of his wife to cancer at the age of 29, Andy’s third solo album is his most sophisticated, thoughtful and assured offering to date. It is also surprisingly uplifting and life affirming, swinging easily between moments of light and dark as only someone who has come through the experience of finding love and losing it in the space of a few short years can.
Andy Thornton’s latest album treads with both gentleness and passion through painful territory but it is territory through which we shall all one day tread and of which, Andy shows us, we should not be afraid.
5 STAR REVIEW FROM MAVERICK MAGAZINE (UK) - JULY 2006
Unforgettable listening experience from talented newcomer
Initially the best way to fully appreciate just how good a musician Yorkshireman Andy Thornton is, is to listen to SUNFLOWER GIRL without knowing anything about it or indeed him. If you approach this album without any preconceptions you’ll find an exquisite mosaic of the songwriters’ art. Thornton writes wonderfully mature intelligent songs that require the listener to be equally mature and intelligent. SUNFLOWER GIRL is an album or wonderfully crafted songs that could only come from a man for whom writing is an extension of himself. But as thoughtful and well written as the likes of Shake The Moon Down, Under My Skin and Shores of Forever are (and you could select any of the songs as perfect examples), the real substance comes from the fact that Thornton is unable to separate himself from the music. SUNFLOWER GIRL will gently break your heart and then immediately restore your faith and for that along, it deserves its place among the singer-songwriter classics.
However, when you learn that it was written in the year following the death of Thornton’s wife, it becomes something different altogether. Only Andy Thornton will know the effect that writing and recording SUNFLOWER GIRL had on him but he lays himself so open on songs like Crashing and Burning and Rosey (One More Time) that it becomes almost too intrusive. As a writer Andy Thornton freeze-frames his experiences into 3 and 4 minute tapestries and they have no need of ornate settings, the poetry of Love’s Promised Land requires nothing more than the simplest of arrangements and Thornton’s soaring, aching voice, anything more would simply be a distraction, in this case simplicity adds lustre.
There is a gentle integrity about SUNFLOWER GIRL that originates from one source, the creator’s care, paradoxically it also lifts the spirits. Andy Thornton is surely one of those musicians who measures success and failure in the quality of the music, not in the units ’moved’. It certainly meets the most stringent quality test on the first, let’s hope for the sake of real music it also succeeds in the second. Listening to SUNFLOWER GIRL is an experience you’ll never forget.
4 STAR REVIEW FROM FYFEOPEDIA
To be honest, I’d never heard of Scottish singer-songwriter Andy Thornton or his previous project Big Sur, until his record company sent me a review copy of Sunflower Girl, his third solo album. These songs were written in the year that followed Thornton’s wife passing away from cancer at the age of 29. As you’d expect, based on such circumstances, Sunflower Girl is utterly sincere; to such an extent that it’s either going to hit listeners right in the stomach, or become an easy target for mockery with its extreme honesty and openness. I’m probably not the most impartial judge, since right now I’m feeling emotionally raw enough that unexpectedly happy endings in movies make me cry, but most of these songs have the former effect to me. As much as Sunflower Girl is a lyrics focused album, it’s arguably more of a triumph musically; Thornton has a tendency to occasionally lapse into overused metaphors about ships and rainbows, not a surprise when the subject matter is so direct, while most of his melodies are genuinely memorable and his stripped down arrangements suit the material perfectly. One frame of reference for Thornton is seventies folkie Roy Harper; Thornton’s voice has a similar lilt, his lyrics share the same yearning romanticism, and if he’s further from pure folk than Harper, his acoustic finger-picking still betrays a strong folk influence. Aged 47 when he recorded Sunflower Girl, Thornton has more in common with seasoned writers like John Martyn rather than the new generation of bed wetters like David Gray. Thornton handles most of the instrumentation himself, and recorded the songs in his home studio, and it sounds great; sometimes there’s little more than acoustic guitar.
Sunflower Girl’s strongest songs include ‘Under My Skin’, with a jazzy feel and some of Thornton’s most inventive lyrics (“She’s a poppy field/When you thought you’d see wheat”). The opening ‘Shake The Moon Down’ is handicapped by awkward lyrics in crucial places (no matter how heartbroken you are, “tell me please - have you never been in love?” is never an acceptable line) but it’s still agreeably memorable. ‘Safely Home’ ends the album beautifully, with an uplifting resolution and gorgeous, subtle orchestration. There are plenty of pretty acoustic melodies like ‘That Girl’ and ‘He Does Not Deserve You’, and the pretty ‘Rosey (One More Time)’. On the negative side, the title track is somewhat overwrought, like David Gates trying his hand at emo, not surprising given the circumstances, and it’s a credit to Thornton as a writer that he’s able to capture a wider range of emotions than just the grief expressed on this song. Sharing in someone else’s pain is sometimes the best way to soothe your own soul, and as an eloquent expression of difficult emotions Sunflower Girl is a success, where Thornton’s music legitimately serves as a conduit for his emotions and as a window to his soul.
LIVE REVIEW FROM GREENBELT 06
Having long admired the thoughtful songwriting craft of Andy’s occasional albums, I felt a trip to the Winged Ox was in order. Perched on a stool, clutching his acoustic and with beer in hand Andy had clearly come to enjoy himself. After a forceful "Shake The Moon Down" he began an intro with typically laconic wit, "This is how it goes. I sing a song. I talk. I sing a song." The next number, "He Does Not Deserve You", was a bitter/sweet concoction. Andy’s tragic loss of his wife through cancer was briefly mentioned before he launched into a throbbing rock rhythm. Andy is no mean guitarist, as a dazzling display of tonics on his instrument showed and a line, "You make the stars and the atoms spin," is a particularly memorable image. The songsmith then talked about getting reconciled to getting older, adding that the line "I wish I was a girl of 21" in the next song relates to that subject, not cross dressing. After that he went into "Sunflower Girl", dedicated to his late wife which managed to be tender and beautiful but never maudlin. Then came "Under My Skin", inspired by the new lady in Andy’s life who he hopes to marry next year. It’s a gem with another great line, "She’s got the birds singin’ under my skin." That was followed by an older song from 1994’s ’Victims & Criminals’ album. He explained that "Stone Cold Winter" was inspired by an ex-missionary who ran a café for kids in a rundown area of Glasgow. As Andy said, "80 per cent of the time the kids would take the piss out of her, and 20 per cent of the time she was the most important person in their lives." He was out of time and left the stage, yet egged on by the clapping and cheering of the smallish but enthusiastic audience returned to do another oldie, written, he said, when a friend was asked to speak at the Presbyterian Youth Gathering. "It’s about abuse of power in the name of religion," Andy explained. A hard hitting close to a mellow yet challenging set.