Baltimore based Arbouretum who count Richard Thompson and Fairport Convention as references are to release A Gourd Of Gold this month on independent label Latitudes. The release may well surprise many as it covers four Gordon Lightfoot songs. Here’s a taster with their cover of Carefree highway:
Arbouretum offer up four cover versions of the brilliant Gordon Lightfoot, the oft-overlooked Canadian singer-songwriter who helped define the folk-rock sound of the Sixties and Seventies. The highlight of the session is unsurprisingly the song that Lightfoot considers to be his finest work, the ballad telling the tale of the doomed cargo ship the Edmond Fitzgerald, which sank in Lake Superior in 1975, taking 29 crew to their watery graves.
On the surface, Gordon Lightfoot might seem an odd choice for potential interpretation. Despite mass appeal and a long career, he never really received the critical acclaim of his contemporaries, and I’ve always felt his songwriting eclipsed the performances and often insimpatico production of his albums. Trust Arbouretum to really unearth the essence of his spirit. Their main tool is the diversity of mood and approach: from the gravitas of the aforementioned Wreck through the upbeat breezy Carefree Highway, the furrowed brow of Protocol and finally the ecstatic meditative Early Morning Rain. These are exactly what cover songs should sound like – immediately familiar, reverent yet fresh and worthy.
The Wreck Of The Edmond Fitzgerald
Early Morning Rain
A Gourd Of Gold is available as an edition of 1000 hand packaged CDs in foil blocked envelope style folder with colour insert, and 1000 LPs – 500 on 180g black vinyl and 500 on 180g gold vinyl with die cut custom sleeves, foil blocked inner liners and colour insert. Also available is a limited edition shirt with the cover art.