Farthest Field is a duo-project, as we like to say, and Joan calls it, “an album that lives entirely in a day-dream.” Here‘s the full story of the album, told by the poet Marianne Worthington. And below, there’s a bit of the bio & also a video of the first song from the record, recorded live at the Emery Theatre in Cincinnati, OH:
The lyrics and music of Farthest Field, the new duet project from Daniel Martin Moore and Joan Shelley, have many of the same traits that mark the best and most admired ancient Chinese poems: a sense of deep stillness and reverence, a matching of physical landscapes to inner moods, the dichotomous themes of travel and homesickness, and, ultimately, lessons in how to be quietly contemplative yet involved in a place surrounded by “these endless hills” and water.
This comparison seems fitting considering 2012 marks not only the debut of Farthest Field from Ol Kentuck Recordings, but also the birth year of Daniel’s favorite Chinese poet, Tu Fu, born 13 centuries ago this year.
Daniel and Joan have been referring to Farthest Field as “the duo project” from its inception. “The whole thing was inspired by ‘Trawlerman’s Song’ by Vashti Bunyan and Robert Lewis,” said Daniel. “Joanie and I worked up a version of it for a tour we did last summer, and we loved singing it. We got so much positive feedback from it we started thinking of other songs we might like to do, and over time, the idea for this record came to be.”
The album was recorded in December, 2011 and February, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. The ten original compositions on Farthest Field display the two Kentucky-based musicians at their singing-songwriting best. The landscapes of their words are united with crystalline, nearly fragile, vocals and minimal, but engaging, accompaniment. This gentle, acoustic music exhibits a mature and calm transparency that perfectly matches these poetic lyrics about leaving and coming home.
As the newest release in the Ol Kentuck catalog, Farthest Field is yet another example of the collaborative spirit between artists. “While we wrote the songs individually, we worked out the harmonies and arrangements and instrumentations together,” said Daniel. “And we made it ourselves, playing everything and recording it ourselves (which was a first for us both). That was a little intimidating, but it was nice to be limited in that way, too. There were several covers we were considering, but as we whittled it down, it was our own compositions that we focused on. A few of the tunes were written just before the sessions. At least one of them is five years old. Most are some age in between.”
Joan believed that the duo’s “vocal blend and complimentary instincts for harmony promised to make an interesting album. We come from very different song-writing styles,” Joan said, “and the thing that seemed to emerge was this idea that we could make a voice, one that was mine and his together. There are only a few lines on this album that aren’t sung by both of us in harmony.”
Farthest Field, like a revered Chinese poem, is best savored all at once, best considered as a single musical experience, because the music and stories walk us through a single day.
released May 8, 2012
Produced, Arranged & Performed by DMM & Joan Shelley
Recorded & Mixed by DMM
Mastered by Kevin Ratterman
Designed by Dusty Summers
Cover Photo by DMM
Interior Photos by Michael Wilson
This album was recorded in December 2011 &
February 2012 at the FunRanch & The Casa in
Louisville, KY, mixed at the FunRanch and
mastered at the FunHome.
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