'Haggren Gravlund' - 'Horseman Pass By' (album)
So the New Year plan is that we spend 10 days covering Albums we missed in 2018, then shift on to new releases. I really hope we can stick with it, because we have a lovely selection to 'work' through. And we'll start with a project we briefly featured in Autumn last year, which comprises 2 Swedish musicians, Peder Gravlund (also part of 'Handshake') and fellow songwriter Gustav Sigala Haggren - together they are 'Haggren Gravlund'.
The album is entitled 'Horseman Pass By', a collection of songs based on poems by William Yeats. And it is a lovely tribute to his writing, with thoughtful tracks which won't necessarily 'blow you away' but should be appreciated by all, with the highlight being the sensitive musical arrangements which underpin the 14 songs.
I'll highlight a few of the stand out moments. It opens with 'A Drunken Man's Praise on Sobriety', rather appropriate I feel for the events of the last 2 weeks, with piano, guitar and vocal harmonies offering background support. But it's the melodic charm of 'Mad as the Mist and Snow' that stats to light things up, with a gradual build of rich instrumentation, brass and an array of different sounds. 'The Cold Heaven' is accompanied by thoughtful strings and guitar, whilst after the gentler paced 'Leda and the Swan' (which has the most gorgeous of melodies) we're offered the previously featured 'The Swans at Coole', still a really lovely song.
I've written way more than planned already, but 'Sailing to Byzantine' is a real stand out track, with a melancholy stately melody, accompanied by piano whilst both 'Ladys Second Song' and 'First Song' with their soft understated style shift the attention on to the words. And I particularly like the intensity and the 2nd vocal harmonies in 'O Do Not Love Too Long'. The opening piano in 'High Anxiety' leads to another lovely lilting melody, whilst the album finishes with 'The Hawk', deliberately stripped back with just piano and vocals, before the subtle haunt of trumpets carry the music into the distance.
The beauty of a project like this is that, along with the lovely music, it does re-introduce me to poems that I haven't read for a long time - and some, through my ignorance that I haven't come across at all. With convincing vocals, thoughtful musical expression throughout and some gorgeous contributions from the collection of musicians (and additional vocalists), 'Horseman Pass By' might not be an album which will clammer for peoples attention, or dominate your local radio playlists, but we're delighted to recommend you all to take a listen.
'Horseman Pass By' by 'Haggren Gravlund' was released November 23 2018 through 'Stargazer Records'.