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Blackmore's Night: The Village Lanterne

Ritchie Blackmore, Candice Night, and their merry band of roving minstrels return for their 7th CD release, not counting their recent DVD release of Castles and Dreams. Having never heard a Blackmore's Night CD before (I'm so ashamed!!!!), I honestly did not know what to expect. Before hearing The Village Lanterne, I kind of knew that Blackmore's Night's music was somewhere along the lines of renaissance folk-type music. The only music that I could compare it to would be music from Jethro Tull during their Celtic Folk Rock period in the mid to late 70's. Well, I have discovered that not only does it stack up to Tull's Celtic Folk music very well, but that it is some of the most innovative and refreshing music that I have ever heard.

Having been a long time listener and admirer of Deep Purple and Rainbow, at first I chuckled at the thought of Ritchie Blackmore going in a far different direction and playing what he calls "renaissance rock with a lot of folk and balladesque influences". But then again, Blackmore was never one to play it safe and sell out by continuing to give the record companies and hard core Purple/Rainbow fans basically the same thing over and over again. The truth is, after a while, even a good thing gets old when no changes are made except for the song titles. For that, and for this release, I pay Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night the highest complements.

As for the music on The Village Lanterne, there are many highlights to go around. For those who would like to hear a bit of a throwback to the glory days of Deep Purple/Rainbow, there is "I Guess It Doesn't Matter", "St. Teresa", and "Just Call My Name", with its very Purple-like electric guitar riffs. If you think you may enjoy renaissance folk with a nice percussion beat, "25 Years "and "Faerie Queen" are definitely two good songs to help acclimate one to this enjoyable style of music. There are some nice instrumentals interspersed throughout the CD, with some renaissance wood flutes (shawm, rauchpfife, cornamuse, et al) thrown in for good effect. But the ones I liked best were the acoustic solos Ritchie does at the end of "Faerie Queen" and "The Messenger", an acoustic song in its entirety. One very interesting song is a remake of "Child In Time", complete with a Blackmore's Night spin on it. Blackmore and Night very tactfully only played the verse once, as it did not need to be repeated to get the point across. The Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow tune, "Street Of Dreams" was also remade.

I also wondered how female vocals would sound against the backdrop of Ritchie's great guitar playing, both acoustic and electric. Well, Candice Night does a superb job with her angelic alto and occasional soprano vocals to allay any fears that a hardcore Purple/Rainbow fan may have. As for Ritchie, what can I say? He once again proves he is one of the best in the business, and proves he does indeed have the Midas touch. If you are ever in a CD store and don't know what to buy, definitely give this a try.

Track Listing
1. 25 Years
2. Village Lanterne
3. I Guess It Doesn't Matter
4. The Messenger
5. World Of Stone
6. Faerie Queen
7. St. Teresa
8. Village Dance
9. Mond Tanz / Child In Time
10. Streets Of London
11. Just Call My Name
12. Olde Mill Inn
13. Windmills
14. Street Of Dreams

Added: June 27th 2006
Reviewer: Jack Toledano
Related Link: Blackmore's Night Website
Hits: 2989
Language: english

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Blackmore's Night: The Village Lanterne
Posted by John Larocque, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-06-27 08:05:41
My Score:

Ritchie Blackmore and Candace Night's latest opus features another interesting set of songs, and the greatest use of his patented Fender Stratocaster since they launched this project. There's at least three styles of songs at work here. There's the adult and contmporary new age feel on such tracks as "Village Lantere" and "Streets of London" (spotlighting Candace Nights talent as vocalist), there's the renaissance-flavored material, and increasingly, there's the rock songs. On the Rainbow front, "I Guess it Doesn't Matter" could have been an outtake from Strangers of Us All. "The Messenger" and "Village Dance" are great showcases for Ritchie's acoustic skills. The gentle and melancholy "Faerie Queen" shifts its tempo into an energetic series of claps, "heys" and more acoustic guitars. There's the unabashed Rainbow rock of "Just Call My Name" and the "Child in Time" version of Mond Tanz. But perhaps the greatest surprise is the cover of Joan Osborne's "St. Teresa." It starts out acoustically for a minute and breaks into unabashed uptempo rock, including one of his long trademark solo before the final refrain. I don't think anyone would ever confuse Candace for a rock vocalist, but she does a good job on this album and I am looking forward to more work in this vein. The cover of Rainbow's "Street of Dreams" was simply a treat, which closes out the album. ( A variant with Candace doing a duet with Joe Lynn Turner can be found on the 2CD version of the album. )

Blackmore's Night: The Village Lanterne
Posted by Steve Pettengill, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-05-14 09:30:32
My Score:

It's hard to believe, but Blackmore's Night have been in existence for nearly a decade already. For my money, their back catalog has been remarkably consistent, with each successive release building on what came before. In that regard, The Village Lanterne is no exception: the band's eclectic mixture of Renaissance folk music, medieval balladry, prog rock and even a touch of heavy metal here and there is very much in evidence on the new release. There are some nice surprises as well, including a new version of the Rainbow classic "Street of Dreams", a lovely take on Ralph McTell's "Streets of London" and a great new dramatically different treatment of Deep Purple's "Child in Time". "Olde Mill Inn" is a merrily drunken singsong anthem, similar to "Back Home Again" and the band would be crazy not to feature this in their live set. If you're overwhelmed by the sheer number of Blackmore's Night releases, The Village Lanterne is as good of a place to start as any. From there, proceed directly to the magical Castles and Dreams DVD; it will give you a full-length concert in a German castle as well as tons of interviews and backstage footage. You really can't go wrong with any Blackmore's Night release and The Village Lanterne will likely appear in my top ten of 2006.

Blackmore's Night: The Village Lanterne
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-05-09 06:10:17
My Score:

Following their excellent live recording "Castles & Dreams", Blackmore's Night would once again return to bring your musical mind to a different place and apparently a different time as well. I looked forward to this new studio recording because the live CD/DVD was just incredible and a refreshing change for me as a fan of interesting musical adventures. The accomplishments of Richie Blackmore are well documented and now along with his Partner, the lovely Candice Night he continues to write in this book by bringing Medieval and Renaissance styled themes to a totally modern world. One does need to separate themselves from his work in Deep Purple and Rainbow as while he might surprise you with a rendition or two of a classic, there is a different feel to them under the Blackmore's Night treatment. Showcasing his skill level as a guitar player and musician; Blackmore finds himself not only handling the traditional guitar, but acoustic instruments and lutes as well as a hurdy gurdy. Candice sings lead and backing vocals, but also plays various tambourines and the recorder and flutes. Together they form the core of this unique troupe of minstrels and the more you listen to the record the more you wish you were outside at a Festival among friends drinking good wines and enjoying stories of life and fun times.

There is a great mix of stuff on the album from moving instrumentals like "The Messenger" to rousing numbers such as "St. Teresa" (originally recorded by Joan Osbourne and a favorite of Blackmore himself). Rainbow gets homage from their leader by including two versions of the mega hit "Street Of Dreams". Joe Lynn Turner offers some vocal assistance on one version and he still sounds great. "Olde Mill Inn" is the track that just asks for the audience to sing along and this will most likely be the case at concerts when the group performs. Beautiful artwork and photos make up the included booklet and lyrics are provided should you need them. The group also explains a little bit about the songs on the record and where they felt they were going by including this song and that. If the typical standard fare is where you stand then this is not a band for you, yet if you choose to explore many different avenues then this is a perfect choice. Pour yourself a glass of wine, light the candles and enjoy the tales of Blackmore's Night while the Village Lanterne burns brightly in the distance.

Blackmore's Night: The Village Lanterne
Posted by Keith Hannaleck, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-04-21 15:06:12
My Score:

Ritchie Blackmore and his partner Candice Night have reached new heights on their latest release The Village Lanterne. I just read an article in Classic Rock Magazine bemoaning the fact the we have lost one our most beloved rock gods to tights and frolicking acoustic guitars. That is rubbish, Ritchie still rips off some amazing licks on the electric guitar, and he actually does so more frequently on this new release compared to previous outings. He has mellowed and changed direction, however with great success; just ask the legions of fans worldwide. Blackmore has carved out yet another niche in musical history with a series of superb recordings. I have covered every release, and absolutely loved them all. I know I probably say that every time I have an opportunity to do a review and probably always will.

Now for the die-hard Deep Purple fans, including me, Blackmore decides to reach back to his past with a different slant. He provides a very exciting tribute to the music of his past. "Mond Tanz / Child In Time" is the perfect blend of Blackmore today, reaching back to the classic lineup of Deep Purple; he gives all of himself for this song and satisfies the old and new fans all in one take. His playing is just as fierce and compelling as it ever was, with one big difference, the spine tingling voice of his partner Candace Night. What an incredibly effort this track is, it gives me chills every time I hear it. Then Rainbow gets the nod twice, first on the disc one version of "Street Of Dreams," which is absolutely haunting, the guitar playing is masterful and Night does a great job with tune, making it her own. And to top that off the bonus disc features Joe Lynn Turner, the vocalist that originally recorded the song with Rainbow. Turner does a duet with Candice, renewing one of his best performances with the compliment of the elegant vocalist to sweeten the pie. That turns out to be an instant classic as well. There is more where that came from. Those that have followed this band over the years have reason to remain faithful as ever. They do not disappoint at all with great tunes such as "25 Years," "St. Teresa," which features some blistering blues-rock from Blackmore, and "I Guess It Doesn't Matter Any More," which is destined become a fan favorite at their live outings. There is one very short instrumental titled "The Messenger," and it is extraordinary. Blackmore proves again that he is equally adept with the acoustic strings and his respect shows for classical music. Blackmore's typically fluid playing is ultimately a great tribute the masters of the past.

These songs are so joyous in spirit yet the album as a whole is somewhat darker than anything they have ever done before. "Windmills" is a good example of the darker more intense side of the songwriting; it gives you goose bumps in all its regal old time glory with subject matter around a character that fights the good fight to the end for his freedom.

This is a great album, in fact, there is not a track on the album that is not memorable, and it is a perfect 10 as far as I am concerned. The only thing that I have to complain about is the bonus disc, the two tracks were great, but the bonus video did not work for some reason. I received the special German edition and the video is in PAL however, my PC does play this type of disc so I am baffled as to why I cannot view it. That was a disappointment but it did not deter me from listening to the best ever Blackmore's Night album so many times I have lost count. Keep up the great work Ritchie and Candice, you have a lifetime fan here that will always look forward to any music you release.

Note: On CD2 of this German version "All Because Of You (Radio Edit)" is replaced with a CD Extra Part-Village Lanterne Interview & Castles and Dreams DVD trailer.

Blackmore's Night: The Village Lanterne
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-04-03 05:34:28
My Score:

Blackmore's Night return with a brand new album titled The Village Lanterne, in some ways their most realized effort. After several releases and years of touring together, Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night seem to have a more clear idea of what they want to do with their music, and where to take it. Especially Candice Night has grown and improved immensely both as a lyricist and singer. Her voice is more mature now, with a distinct sense of confidence and passion. She sings with sheer emotion and conviction through the whole album, proving she's a key element in the unique sound of Blackmore's Night. As for Ritchie Blackmore, no words would do justice to describe his talents and songwriting skills, let alone his distinctive tone and phrasing he puts behind his compositions.

For those of you not familiar with Blackmore's Night (however unlikely that may be), they play an impressive style of Renaissance era music, combining it with elements of new age, folk, rock, and blues, among others. Though heavily acoustic guitar driven, their songs blend a rich array of mandolins, violins, cellos, tambourines, drums, trumpets, bagpipes, and keyboards. Still retaining the classic Blackmore's Night sound, The Village Lanterne is arguably their most modern-sounding release to date. This seems to be because of the recording techniques they employed in the studio, rendering some of the pieces noticeably more contemporary than their earlier work. They are not omnipresent, however. It's more like the band and producer Pat Regan decided to incorporate some new textures and a heavier focus on atmospherics on some tracks. Songs like "Olde Village Lanterne" and "I Guess It Doesn't Matter Anymore" are both marked with effective rhythmic patterns, particularly in the way the drums and percussion are played. Aside from that though, the songs are your typical Blackmore's Night numbers, highlighted by Night's convincing voice and Blackmore's crystal-clean acoustic guitar, both worth dying for. The symphonic backdrop on "The Olde Village Lanterne" lends it an ethereal new age vibe (thanks to its creative arrangement) while Blackmore fuses wonderful blues licks with 16th century folk melodies on its successor.

As with previous albums, there are mini instrumentals present on The Village Lanterne as well. "The Messenger" merges Blackmore's love for new age and acoustic guitars, utilising subtle keys and orchestral motifs; while "Village Dance" is a more laidback yet more direct acoustic number. Much like these two tracks, "Mond Tanz" (Moon Dance) is the first instrumental part of the band's "Child in Time" rework on track nine. The instrumental piece starts out as a happy, upbeat cut, secretly slipping into the classic Deep Purple anthem, where Candice Night's harmony vocals are so beautiful you may want to freeze. Blackmore throws out full-on blues-inflected riffs before the band goes back to the playfulness of "Mond Tanz" to wrap the piece up. Another "cover" song on the album is the special bonus track "Street of Dreams", found only on the Japanese import of the album. This one features Blackmore's counterpart Joe Lynn Turner, who exchanges verses with Candice Night. The two singers duet, harmonise, and swap choruses, while Blackmore plays an enchanting lead solo with a medieval touch.

Candice Night's vocals on the emotional "Once In A Garden" recall her pure yet powerful performance on the debut album Shadow of the Moon, still a personal favourite of mine. The chanting-like male back vocals and Celtic bagpipe melodies on "World of Stone" and the almost-live performed "Olde Mill Inn", or the hard-rocking "St. Teresa" all help diversify the album, with impressive results.

The Japanese version of the CD contains the aforementioned essential bonus track with Joe Lynn Turner, two booklets (the black and white one being in Japanese) and a neat packaging with a nice sticker. Though Shadow of the Moon and Fires At Midnight will remain on top of many fans's lists, I believe The Village Lanterne will make a great addition to the Blackmore's Night discography.

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