REVIEW - Michael Franks – Time Together – Shanachie Records
Franks has taken some time away from the studio with his last project being “Rendezvous in Rio” from 2006. “Time Together” is a very consistent CD like it’s predecessors. Many of the songs have a similar feel but if you truly get Franks vision, his philosophy of wonderment then it all makes sense. It’s the smaller things in life, the simple things that bring us to where we want to go. Franks really gets that.
The lead off single “Now That the Summer’s Here” is one of his strongest tunes in twenty years. It’s as if he grabbed all the different nuances from his strongest tunes and got back in that winning zone. Chuck Loeb produced this one and three others on the album and provides guitars, keys and drums to the mix. Let this one be a perfect soundtrack for the summer of 2011.
Another favorite is “Mice,” a quiet, thoughtful observation on what makes us tick. How a perspective can change from a different angle. It’s an amusing observation on how a simple mouse can be so grateful for the smallest present from the universe – even a tiny morsel of food. A witty little reality check, perhaps?
“Time Together” is a soft appreciation of a little dachshund called Flora that the singer adopted. She was rescued from a puppy mill by the Kansas by Hearts United for Animals. From first listen to this wonderful piece it’s easy to tell how much love she brought in Franks life. It’s as tender of a love song as you can imagine and it’s for a dog. She died last year.
The CD is mostly organic and features Will Lee and Mark Egan, who also produced some tracks, on bass, Eric Marienthal has a sax cameo and Beth Nielsen Chapman on background vocals among many other musicians.It’s not everyday that someone’s art shows so much peace and a transparent look at such an interesting perspective of life – Here is a guy who can stop and breathe it in and make life not so damn complicated. He can tell you about the simple things the way it should be told – quietly. This is as good as it could possibly get! – by John Beaudin