Audrey Auld Releases New Album Hey Warden
Co-written with actual San Quentin Inmates
Primary URL: http://www.audreyauld.com/
Tasmania native, singer-songwriter Audrey Auld who has enjoyed success in the United States since 2003 has released a new album called ‘Hey Warden.’
On the surface it would appear to be just another CD release from a quality artist and a great group of serious musicians for support. Peel back the layers and it will reveal a CD with a collection of eight very different songs covering a number of genre’s.Country, Blues, Rock, Acoustic Folk, Reggae and Pop are all melted together on this release. It was said the “music was as diverse as the population in the prison.”
The CD is about life in prison with five songs co-written with inmates from San Quentin Prison. As the inmates begin sharing their thoughts story began to develop. It grew more important to Audrey to share these stories and what better way to share these thoughts then through the universal language of music. Johnny Cash made a live album from San Quentin. Other performers have been Bread and Roses, Metallica, Country Joe and the Fish have been a few names of artist’s who have played San Quentin.
This idea of talking with inmates, listening to their stories and helping them write songs about their experience’s is not all together unique. This idea has been done before. I was intrigued because of the choice of prisons. San Quentin is no Holiday Inn, it’s home to over 4,000 prisoners, of which over 700 are on death row. Charles Manson has called San Quentin home before. You don’t go to SQ for writing bad checks or stealing lamb chops from the local grocery store. This place is the final destination for some people who have done some pretty bad things.
This would hardly be the place to expect to find inspiration for 8 well blended songs. “This album means a lot to me. Incarcerated men shared their stories, feelings, remorse and dreams with me and allowed me to create songs from their words,” Audrey says.
Audrey calls on the support of musician’s to work with this project. She finds Kenny Vaughan, one of Nashville’s secret weapon and top session guitarist. Dennis Wage, a Nashville session keyboard/piano player. Bass player Ralph Friedrichsen who has worked with artists such as Keith Anderson, JoDee Messina, Suzy Bogguss, Collin Raye and Paul Thorn. Rounding out the session with Eamon McLaughlin on violin, and Mez Mezera on vocals.
With song titles like, Hey Warden, Poor Joe, Walls, I Am Not What I Have Done, Oh Love, Naked and Nameless, Bread and Roses and Sunshine gives a hint to the life one leads when confined to 4 walls. To my surprise, the music was very upbeat. You have to appreciate the human condition when you are forced to live in such a poor environment and still find it inside yourself to write music with such a promising message (or sense of humor).
Musically, I do not see any Grammy in this CD’s future but you have to give Audrey an A+ for a fine effort. I don’t think performance nirvana was the intended idea to begin with.The recording was above average with excellent attention to mic placement and getting the studio mix right. This was a well crafted set of songs and the studio played a supporting role in making each song hold it’s own.
Audrey will return to San Quentin this spring for a show in the chapel where she’ll share the video for ‘I Am Not What I Have Done‘ (linked below) as well as a performance in the yard as part of their Day of Peace. Johnny Cash would have been proud.
Rate: 3.5 stars out of 5
by Charlie Harrelson