Singer-songwriter and composer Reuben Butchart collaborated with poet John William Carroll and eight multi-instrumentalists to develop and record a contemporary art song cycle during their artists residency at Robert Wilson's Watermill Center.
A seasoned solo performer in the New York indie music scene and former pianist with Antony and the Johnsons, Butchart has penned 2 albums of soul-tinged orchestral pop and has also composed for dance and film.
A retired professor of classics, theater, and creative writing, poet John William Carroll first gained recognition in the 1970's for directing members of his commune in Classic Greek, Shakespearean, and his own original plays. "John Carroll is perhaps one of ten poets who will be read into the next century," wrote Library of Congress Poet Laureate Josephine Jacobsen.
Prior to their arrival at Watermill, Butchart and Carroll combed through Carroll's extensive writings to select poems to set to song. In a few cases, Carroll re-wrote lines to conform to Butchart's melodic structures. In most cases, Butchart broke away from conventional song form to follow the original path of the poet's verse, creating 8 through-composed art songs.
Carroll's poems and Butchart's melodies were shaped sonically by eight eclectic musicians into lush arrangements with piano, bass, drums, saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, flutes from around the world, lute, guitar, cello, voices, metal bells, slit drums, shakers, and crystal bowls.
Lyrically pastoral, natural, and spiritual, Butchart's third album is musically eclectic – running the gamut from chamber folk to latin jazz to avant-indie to ethereal ballad.