The Garden Of Musical Delights (Now & Then) – James Elkington & Terry Callier

Now: James Elkington – Wintres Woma

British born Chicago native James Elkington this year released an album of unimaginable  pastoral delight, Wintres Woma, on the Paradise Of Bachelors label. It features his hypnotic guitar playing and pristine vocals on material that ranges from classic sounding progressive folk rock, to impressionist Nick Drake like excursions.

Elkington is one of the most in demand musicians in the Chicago scene and beyond having spent extensive time working with Jeff Tweedy, Steve Gunn, Joan Shelly, Richard Thompson, Michael Chapman and others.

I recently had the privilege of seeing Elkington on a triple bill with the explosive Heron Oblivion, and the great Steve Gunn.  Elkington played an entrancing set that included most of Wintres Woma, and later returned to accompany Gunn, who closed with a hypnotic set brimming with modern psychedelia.

I had good fortune to chat briefly with Elkington and he was gracious, and was kind enough to sign an LP.¬† His music can’t be recommended highly enough for those who consider Berth Jansch, John Martyn, or Richard Thompson musical touchstones, but that is just the starting point.

Bandcamp Link

Available as download, LP, CD.

Then: Terry Callier – The New Folk Sound Of Terry Callier

The late Terry Callier possessed a voice of incredible power, and left behind and extensive discography that is essential to explore. Callier delved into jazzy folk, soul, blues, sprinkled with mystical musings. Perhaps a young Tim Buckley was a kindred soul.

His debut recording, released in 1968, but recorded a few years earlier, is a work of astonishing beauty. This is perhaps one of the most hard hitting progressive folk albums of the 60’s, and what makes this a stunner are the stark arrangements, which spotlight Callier’s voice and guitar.

The first two tracks, “900 Miles”, and “Oh Dear, What Can The Matter Be?”
unleash Callier’s power, to the point you wonder how he will make it through side one, so raw is the emotional outpouring. Callier expanded his sound as the 70’s began, signing with jazz label Verve, and producing mind expanding jazz/folk fusion.