For more than twenty-five years the St. John’s acoustic trio Atlantic Union has been performing and recording innovative versions of traditional music. With the release of their fourth CD, a collection of nine originals and a handful of pieces by other writers, they have crossed into new territory, with songs about memory loss, the valor of merchant sailors in the Second World War, love for a new granddaughter and a wistful ballad titled “I Do Not Feel the Giant Clams.”
INDULGENCE is the title of the new recording, which promises to engage a whole new generation of fans, including many who may not already know the group. Released by local label Blue Island Records, the recording will be launched on the internet some time in the next month. Listeners are invited to visit the trio’s website, atlanticunion.ca to receive their personal invitation to this mysterious online event.
The members of Atlantic Union are Sally Goddard, known for her stunning vocals accompanied by guitar, bass, bodhran and concertina; Dan Rubin, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who plays violin, viola, bouzouki, guitar, ukulele and string bass, and composer Jane Ogilvie, vocalist and keyboard player who doubles on accordion and Celtic harp. With their varied instruments and beautifully blending voices, the three have woven musical spells, using the recording studio to make full use of their shared creativity.
Rather than putting their music in the hands of a producer, the three partners collaborated on every aspect of this recording: selecting the songs, deciding on instrumentation, recording and mixing tracks then assembling the songs and instrumentals to tell a coherent story. The album is a journey, beginning in reflections on loss and isolation then tracing an arc through time and space to arrive finally under open skies, beside the sea, in a place of joy and freedom.
The opening track is a gentle reminder that we are not alone. The songs that follow reflect on unrequited love, loss of a loved one and memory loss. We emerge from this with a song for a beloved granddaughter, then move through pieces that share an oceanic setting: songs about transcending racism, surviving war and sailing out of St. John’s harbour on a fully rigged ship. After a piece written by Lord Byron and a nostalgic visit to Mallorca we come to a tribute to the loggers of New Brunswick who supplied masts for the British navy and a rather strange song about kayaking in the Queen Charlotte Islands. The collection concludes with a sonata inspired by Scottish themes and a Caribbean sing-along about the joys of living more simply.
We invite anyone interested in music that touches the heart to check out these tracks online by visiting atlanticunion.ca. For more information about the recording or the group, please visit the Atlantic Union website or call Blue Island Records (709-335-2340).