Quiet Night, a lullaby album from Angela James, is perfect for weary parents. I suggest humming along to this album to help soothe both you and your babies.
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This Spring, Angela James releases Quiet Night, a beautiful and carefully crafted collection of lullabies created to provide a calm and charming soundscape to soothe both parent and child, out April 12, 2019.
Chicago based singer-songwriter Angela James is known for her inquisitive and artful approach to songwriting. In 2016, James entered a new phase of life when she became a mother. However, after the highly anticipated birth of her daughter Hattie, the artist found herself struggling with postpartum depression. In a time of what James describes as “darkness and doubt” she began humming melodies, using the tools she had at hand to soothe herself and her daughter. The process calmed both mother and child and simultaneously helped the artist hang on to her creative self at a time when, due to the depression, she feared she might never write or perform music again.
When times are darkest it’s hard to see the light, but as time passed and Hattie grew, she began to feel her productive self again. James turned to these therapeutic melodies to help guide her back to her artistic practice. She invited musicians from Chicago’s thriving improvisational and experimental musical community who are also parents of young children to play on the record. What began as a coping mechanism evolved into this collection of fully formed and arranged lullabies which she is now thrilled to be able to share with other families.
When James conceptualized Quiet Night, it was with a young child’s bedtime routine in mind. These effective songs may also serve a dual purpose as they can support and soothe parents during the demanding and exhausting first months of a child’s life. The welcome deep tranquility of the collection provides a calming and comfortable environment, encouraging love to flow freely and for parents to give in to the weary depth of this emotional time. It’s slow pace directs your mind and body to settle and unwind, setting the scene for serenity and ideally, sleep.
The instrumentation on the album; voice, classical guitar, bass clarinet, bassoon and vibraphone, is unique and deliberately in the mid-to-low tonal range, creating a serene but captivating soundscape. James hopes another benefit of this this record will be to introduce young ears to these instruments. All the musicians and artists that contributed to the project are parents of young children, thus adding to the authenticity and heart of the release.
The song “Hummingbird” welcomes the listener with a softly repetitive and soothing opening track highlighting the unique instrumentation of the record and it’s origin through James’ humming vocals. “Goodnight, My Honey” was the first melody James composed for this project. The experience of James’ infant daughter watching traffic inspired this ‘city lullaby’ which is centered on the image of a child looking out the window and feeling the world start to slow down around them. “Sun and Moon” is a testament to just how infinite a parent’s love can feel. The celestial images here convey the limitlessness of that emotion; regardless of exhaustion or frustration the love is always there, like the sun and moon. “You’re Always At Home” addresses how helpless a parent of a young child can feel. We may not have all the answers or feel prepared, but what we can promise is that our children will always have a home in our hearts.
The melody for “Sweetest Bird” was inspired by all the rocking, swaying and bouncing James did while trying to get her daughter to sleep; it sometimes felt like an elaborate, exhausting dance. The title track “Quiet Night” is a tribute to a bossa nova classic, Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Corcovado. This song will resonate with any parent who has been awake in the wee hours with an infant. It evokes the lonely, quiet and intimate feeling of being up together when everyone else is asleep. James chose it as the title track because that combination of weariness and love is at the heart of the record. “Sailing” is also a perfect companion for the constant swaying of babies to sleep during those first months. James sings that our dreams are voyages we go on every night. We can’t travel with our little ones during their dreams but we will be waiting on the shore when they wake. The final track “Hattie’s Dream” was inspired by Satie’s Gymnopedies and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.
Quiet Night featuresAngela James on vocals and guitar, Charles Rumback on vibraphone, Jason Stein on bass clarinet and Katherine Young on bassoon.The albumwill be available April 12, 2019 both digitally and physically where ever families are looking for great music. Visit angelajamesmusic.com for more information.
about angela james
Angela James’ music brings to mind the rich, deep voices of artists like Patsy Cline and Rosanne Cash with the narrative sensibility of more modern female troubadours like Neko Case and Gillian Welch. Her music has been called “smoldering and gorgeous” by the Chicago Reader and she has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, WBEZ, and Tiny Mix Tapes. Born and raised in TN, with sojourns in Mississippi and Brazil, Angela lives in Chicago with her partner, Aisual artist and curator Jordan Martins, and daughter Hattie.