4

Bill Carrothers: Family Life

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Nostalgia, if overused, can be a dangerous drug but, when the dosage is just right, it can serve as a wonderful gateway into an artist's personalized realm. Such is the case with pianist Bill Carrothers' Family Life. Carrothers broke his trio recording habit, which is well-documented on his prior Pirouet releases, and sat down all by his lonesome to produce this pianistic trip down memory lane.

While no single mood or ideal defines this work, Carrothers often conjures a bucolic and peaceable beauty that can be viewed as a musical representation of his family's rural existence in a sparsely populated section of Michigan. The album-opening "Our House," "Bud And Bunny" (borrowing his children's nicknames for a title) and "Good Dog" all wear this quality well. Other numbers ("For Better And For Worse") hint at this ideal, but in a more reflective and less obvious manner.

Carrothers' carefree delivery on some of this material is essential to its character, but it doesn't define his character. When he digs deeper and goes beneath the surface, he provides a more well-rounded view of himself and he comes up with some music that goes a step---or a mile---beyond the beauteous and subdued. His bluesy and free-spirited side comes through during "A Night Out," he taps into his inner-Philip Glass for the arpeggio-driven "Northern Lights," and he delivers dreary, yet steadfast and resolute thoughts during "Forefathers." Dark musings come into play on "Schizophrenic Weather," which alludes to Thelonious Monk in subtle fashion and proves to be one of the high points on the album, but the most outlandish and enjoyable number is the action-packed "On The Sled." Steady, clustered chords mix with bluesy ideas and strange asides as Carrothers creates some sort of hybrid of Igor Stravinsky and Jaki Byard. While this piece proves to be a real eye-opener, Carrothers usually prefers soothing thoughts to musical sensationalism.

This album is essentially an autobiography for the ears, and an excellent one at that. Carrothers filters his very being through his fingers on the brilliant, personalized piano statement of Family Life.

Track Listing: Our House; Scarborough Fair/Peg; For Better and for Worse; Bud and Bunny; Northern Lights; Snowbound; On the Sled; Schizophrenic Weather; Forefathers; Good Dog; A Night Out; Harbor Lights; News From Home; Gitchee Gumee; When We're Old.

Personnel: Bill Carrothers: piano.

Title: Family Life | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Pirouet Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Door Girl CD/LP/Track Review Door Girl
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Incidentals CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Golan/Al Joulan Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Golan/Al Joulan Vol. 2
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys" CD/LP/Track Review Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 31, 2017
Read "Alameda Gardens" CD/LP/Track Review Alameda Gardens
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "Keep Me Singing" CD/LP/Track Review Keep Me Singing
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "Closer Than Before" CD/LP/Track Review Closer Than Before
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 14, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.