Howard Gladstone showcases the beauty of the South Seas in his newest single Paradise, Passing Through — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
The song — first preview of the Toronto folksinger’s sixth album The Promise, out Oct. 9 — was composed during a marvellous trip through Polynesia that offered time for musical reflections on history, art, beauty, inspiration, colonization, religion, commerce, even the transitory nature of our time in the world. The song has a dreamy, lush tonality that drifts between major and minor coupled with haunting imagery reinforced by Kevin Laliberte’s precise guitar work.
The resonant collection of nine songs on The Promise are contemporary yet highly personal reflections that feature some of Gladstone’s most thoughtful and heartfelt songs to date; rich with allusive language and poignant moments of pure poetry throughout, his layered lyrics are compellingly matched by his intimate, summoning vocal style.
This is an album with a clear narrative arc: It begins at a place of shining hopes, dreams and memories in Woodstock Fifty but, in the end, leaves at a crucial, critical juncture focusing attention on the climate crisis in Crossroads where those dreams and hopes are in peril. Between these, there are interesting stops — both utopian and dystopian — as Gladstone examines the fate of exiles in Birds of Spain or waltzes while an empire crumbles in It All Falls Down. “The title song The Promise lets us know that for every stormy sky, there’s one of blue, while Someday hints at a better tomorrow,” Gladstone says.