Saturday, June 4, 2011

CD Review – Autumn Sky, by Blackmore’s Night

Blackmore’s Night, a unique musical group led by legendary Deep Purple/Rainbow guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and his wife, singer/songwriter Candice Night, fuses together elements of classical, medieval, folk, and rock music to create a sound unlike any other.

Night’s powerful and pretty vocals bring to mind ABBA and Heart, as well as a little bit of Christine McVie and Melissa Etheridge. Night’s supple voice gets a good workout, roaring through straight-ahead rockers like “Highland” and “Journeyman” and sweetly articulating lyrical ballads such as “Believe in Me,” “Strawberry Girl,” “Health to the Company,” and “Barbara Allen.” Night also plays medieval instruments such as the pennywhistle.

Blackmore’s fiery electric and acoustic guitar playing is as virtuosic as ever, which is no surprise. This guy’s been in the music business for five decades and shows no signs of slowing down. His frenetic fretwork shines on the aforementioned “Highland” and “Journeyman,” the latter of which features an especially killer guitar solo that you just wish would never end. I could listen to an entire album of Blackmore just shredding the way he does on “Journeyman.” The guitarist also shows his softer side on the beautiful, classical-guitar instrumental ballad “Night at Eggersberg.”

Perusing the Web sites of both Night and Blackmore’s Night, it’s clear that the duo have a sincere and deep love for this style of music, even dressing in medieval attire at their shows, often played at medieval-type settings. Blackmore is a rocking Robin Hood, and Night is his singing Maid Marian.

Medieval-style music is generally not my cup of tea, but the combination of Night’s beautiful and formidable vocals and Blackmore’s power chords and licks hooked me from the beginning and never let go. People who like classical and medieval music will enjoy this, and fans of Ritchie Blackmore and rock guitar will not be disappointed.

--Raj Manoharan

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