‘Carondolet’ takes you on a journey, like all good songwriters telling tales that draw you into the narratives.
Richard James Quarterman has released his debut album ‘Carondelet‘ christening the band with his surname and releasing this via his own label Wood Head Records. ‘Carondelet‘ is a collection of songs that he felt would be best served up outside of his band Man the Lifeboats. The album follows a well-trodden path of singer-songwriter storytellers but manages to stand out from the crowd with his well-produced tales detailing lost loves and places he has inhabited bringing them to life. The nine original songs came together and when he ran into an old school friend, fellow musician, and producer Jamie Evans who became involved and co-produced ‘Carondelet‘. The partnership. has worked well with the songs being given space to organically unfold embracing the listener into the narratives.
Quarterman’s vocals sound weather-worn, worldly, and warm across the album. In the opening song ‘That Old Chinese Takeaway called happiness‘ he recounts the story of a new relationship that he was in, detailing the fragility of not knowing where it was headed. Quarterman explores issues of social issues in the songs ‘Outsiders‘ and ‘O Fisherman‘ with the lyrics of the first proclaiming they can “take our lives but they’ll never take our kindness.” and the second being about fishermen having to save the lives of migrants crossing the sea. Musically the narratives are presented with an emotive undertow ebbing and flowing in a graceful manner which is reminiscent of Elbow.
‘The Caledonian‘ like many other good songs, is about a (fictional) pub with Quarterman sharing stories about adventures that are more likely to occur in such places. Quarterman paints a picture of fun and games (“until somebody loses an eye, then it’s still fun and games, put some shades on you’ll be fine.”) mining the joy and pathos of a night out at the pub, The song was transformed from the original version written while part of his band Man the Lifeboats into a folk tale which reminds us of the joy in being part of a community. The title track ‘Carondolet’ takes the listener to New Orleans where Quarterman sings about his love of the place and a special person whom he met there. Quarterman has created a beautiful collection of songs that can be filed alongside John Prine or Cat Stevens. Take the time, give it your attention and you won’t regret the decision to do so.