Sunday, March 24, 2013

Carpet of the Sun: We Need a Little Annie Haslam

From the National Weather Forecast

Winter Storm Virgil brings a swath of heavy snow from eastern Kansas into central Indiana through Sunday afternoon.

Accumulations generally 5-8" with locally 8-12", including Kansas City, St. Louis and Indianapolis.

Snow will mix with rain near the Ohio River and Kentucky will mainly deal with rain.

As we all wait for the warmth of the new season to get going, Annie Haslam's soaring voice singing about sunshine springs to mind.

I don't know why my brother had the Renaissance Live at Carnegie Hall album when we were kids. But I devoured it from the first time I played it. Carpet of the Sun is a lovely short song that features a distinctive effortless trill from Annie.

I remember looking at the vinyl album for the first time and seeing that the "song" Sheherazade was the entire side. I remember thinking that that must be boring, much too long.

Instead, I found it was a masterpiece. It's progressive rock, an orchestrated piece with exquisite piano. And Annie soars into that elite soprano space and carries the audience away with her. As an alto I've always yearned to know what that stratosphere is like.

But I also love bassist Jon Camp, who has lead vocals on "The Sultan" section. I've carried his voice in my head for decades.

Sultan king, cruel majesty
Orders that his women die
A single night
This for all his brides
Takes his pleasure than their lives

If you've never heard this piece, you are in for a discovery.