Every once and a while you find yourself thinking about an artist as a real person. Imagine that?!
Sometimes we find ourselves fans of the “artist” and we focus on the music and how it makes us feel and how it affects us and…us. Now, unless you actually know an artist in real life you don’t necessarily tend to think of them as a person…they are an artist first and then the rest is a bonus if you are a big fan and superfluous if you aren’t. This isn’t a bad thing done by bad people, it is just how it goes sometimes.
So by the post title and cover image above you know that the artist in question is Will Stratton. To reiterate the above paragraph, I actually thought of him as a real person recently. A person that lives a real life and with that life, it includes struggles that aren’t just a way to bridge to a chorus of your most recent ballad. While struggles in life often become story-lines and lyrics of songs, often they are not fully thought of as ‘actual’ real life scenarios by the listener in this day and age. Well, long winded intro short, Will Stratton recently battled stage 3 cancer and experienced the life that a battle like that brings (numerous surgeries, waiting on what could be unknown results, the stress of both). I found myself looking and even hearing Will Stratton as a different beast. Some may say that I felt sorry for him, which couldn’t be further from what it was, I saw his as a human being….who happens to be a great musician as well. While my perception is minor compared to the experience Will was forced to endure, I am here to tell you that this story has a positive outcome and Will has finished this whole cancer part of his life. You can read it in Will’s words via his recent entry, On Optimism, via his website - http://willstratton.com/
Soooo…enough about me. There is a benefit album for Will Stratton released via Bandcamp where the proceeds go to Will’s expenses for treatments (and we all know medical bills are crazy these days). The album is 12 covers of his music from some fellow like minded musicians. These musicians share an ethos as it is described (of Will) below;
Will Stratton is a champion of independent music. His work is challenging, virtuosic, beautiful, and brave. We recognize him as one of our own, forging his way as an artist through the hazy post-millennial daze of a million bands all playing at the same time. In this context, Will’s quiet, emotionally complex songs feel heroic.
The music on this release is often re-interpreted and actually finds a nice spectrum of covers of songs that normally find themselves in the more intricate acoustic folk variety. There definitely are some standouts in here and even a track from Will himself from a WNYC session he recorded. I wanted to include two songs and one is the opening and the other is the closing of the album. First the opening track from Matthew Carefully & the Memorial Concern for the song Who Will as I felt it truly mirrored what I feel is the sound of Stratton. Carefully and crew craft a beauty of a cover with strolling percussion and hazy springtime vocals – a perfect mix in my books. Listen below.
Next we have the aforementioned track from Will himself that closes out the benefit compilation, For Franny Glass from Stratton’s No Wonder album (as is the cover track above).
So spend a moment and listen in to this more-than-worthy project by visiting the Bandcamp page HERE. It is a mere $7 (or more) for the entire thing and it comes highly recommended. Who knows, you may hear a new favourite or hear a familiar song (or Will himself) in a new light.