Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Colby Stead - No

This last weekend brought the release of Colby Stead’s sophomore album simply entitled, “No”. It has been nearly three years since “So Normal It’s Different” and the growth is audible. As a chef enhances a golden consommé by reduction, Colby leaned out “No” to a sparse eleven songs, bringing out flavor without overindulgence. Featured musicians, Lisa Stead and Steven Gertsch, add vocal harmony and cello respectively, revealing studio work that is fluid and clear. It sounds as if the musicians are playing right inside your room or head.

One of the strongest tracks is “Invisible” a first person narration on emotional blindness. “I watched your heart fall, but I didn’t see it, I heard your voice call, but I didn’t hear it, you were invisible to me.” The ambiguous “you” in the song has given all that sentiment would allow, putting all self on the line but getting nothing in return. Yet curiously this person doesn’t seem to hold rancor or ill-will, “you did not need this, so you took my hand and gave it a kiss goodbye.” Even after rejection and unwilling reciprocation there is still room for the humane touch of lips. This earnest moment leaves the blind to consider, “Why couldn’t I tell…Why couldn’t I see?”

Another great moment on the album is the familial lament “Malice and Mud.” In the song a home is dying, children and parents are admitting some stark and depressing realizations about one another. The chorus is a poignant question, “Why won’t the rain come and wash away all the sin and the blood? Or buried we will stay beneath the guilt, below the shame, covered up with malice and mud.” The dirge culminates in a heartfelt plea for reconciliation, “Let the wounded parts show…let all of our tears fall, let them fall, let them fall.”

A big portion of Colby Stead’s artistry is geared toward creating an environment where communication, admittance, acceptance, and change can occur. These songs are a great representation of where he is as an artist and show his ability as an arranger. All who know him also know his capability of multi-instrumentation and production, which I’m sure we’ll hear more of when he’s ready. For now though, “No” does all it sets out to do, if you as a listener are willing to hear.

Please head over to to purchase the album.

MP3: Invisible


James said...

Hey Les, I tried to listen to some of his music on his site but the link to his music wan't working on my computer.

"his" was used 3 times in the previous sentence.

Les M. Blake said...

First of all, nice job on your proficient use of "his." I don't work that one in enough :)

I think that the sample player on his site might be experiencing difficulties, perhaps due to the fact that they are trying to add some video and photo content. I think the two mp3's are still downloading fine, but you may need to check back in a day or two to listen to the sample player.

Thanks for checking it out James.


Darrin and Alicen said...

Les, thanks for introducing us to such great music. I really took something from this concert and now the CD. It is and was very cathartic to listen to.

And, well, I've already told you how I feel about your music mixed with some Christy in there. I shur feel lucky to not only know you guys, but be related to you too! :)