Storyteller: Part I
(2019 - Coriolis Records - USA)
A completely tender folk album from British, Irish, and Scottish traditionals, very far from Walter's previous output of electronic and experimental genre music, from his Amber Route days or former solos, except for 'Ride On', which uses transfixing synthesizers to give lush liquid background to Walter's almost Robert Fisher (Willard Grant Conspiracy) vocals. This is a beautiful, often haunting recording that soothes and calms the soul. It feels like the songs were in Holland most of his life. Covering quite a few classic writers, some of Robert Burns poetry is set to music, along with words by Barry Moore, songs by Ralph McTell, and others. Some original tunes are also included to great meld. Along with Steve Leonard on keyboards, guitars, vocals, synthesizers, and some creative contraptions of hard to figure out names/ Walter Holland performs vocals, guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, digital and analog synthesizers, and also some of those creative contraptions of hard to figure out names. Guesting is Jon Camp (Renaissance & Roy Wood) on bass/ Nicole Falzone on drums, and Ol' Black Howie on backing vocals. The music is produced and mixed by Holland and Leonard. Released on March 9, 2019.
The cover art is 'The Boyhood of Raleigh' (1870) by Sir John Everett Millais (1828-1896). I had no idea what to think of the music beforehand, as I was not aware of the release until now. Fact is, I would have never guessed the style from knowing the history of Walter Holland, but this is fantastic! Especially since it has been 30 years since his last release. If anyone has heard Jon English & Mario Millo – 'Against The Wind', then you can count on the last cut on 'Storyteller: Part I' titled 'If I Were A Blackbird' being a modified version of 'Six Ribbons' off the OST 'Against The Wind' album. A song I could never get out of my head. Gorgeous!
So we have this sentimental type set of songs, all done with such care and gentleness. As if a departing message, but there is information that Holland is working on a Part II, so I am certain that cannot be missed. Based on the elegance of these treasures, it is hard not to listen to it over and over. Need some tranquility in your life? Then this is your album. The physical disc comes with nice booklet, fold out digipak, and details about the songs, and even those creative contraptions that both Walter and Steve play. Thank you for contacting me about this Walter. This CD is forever in my collection now. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 3 - 8 - 2020