Thursday, May 7, 2015

Blackmore's Night - Shadow of the Moon

I have written before about how the older someone gets the more mellow they become and we see this happening to effectively every musician who has ever lived. Ritchie Blackmore is no exception to this rule. He went from being the most memorable member of a classic rock band often credited for laying the ground work for heavy metal and now... well now he is doing something completely different.

In 1994, approximately, Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple, this time for good. In 1997 Blackmore with his then fiancée Candice Knight formed the aptly named two piece band Blackmore’s Night. This new band and new direction by Blackmore is completely different from everything he had created previously. Blackmore’s style mellowed dramatically, and under the banner of Blackmore’s Night he took to writing festival like folk music along with a variety of guitar focused cover songs both from classic rock and old classical music. It was like he traveled backward in time, like five hundred years, and got in touch with his inner minstrel. This change was unprecedented, and it has left many loyal Blackmore fans surprised and saddened. They do not want Blackmore to play at renaissance fairs (no really that is what Blackmore is doing now) they want him to play classic Deep Purple and Rainbow songs.

I too love Deep Purple and Rainbow, I too want Ritchie Blackmore to play “Child In Time” and “Stargazer,” but I also love Ritchie Blackmore and I want him to be happy, so I am perfectly okay with him playing classic guitar and classic inspired guitar music with his wife at renaissance fairs. It helps that Blackmore’s Night is also really good.

As a young person, Candice Knight was a huge fan of Rainbow, and she met Ritchie at a signing event, or something like that, and they got to a talking and realized they had a lot of common interests and became friends. For a short time Candice did backing vocals for Deep Purple but by 1994 Ritchie left the band, this time for good, and took his then fiancée with him.

They look happy to me.
Candice Knight is very pretty and I mistook her for a model, partially because she as a glow about her that would have made her a successful model if she had chosen that career, but also partially because it is a classic outcome for a rock stars to marry supermodels. For me there was an immediate concern seeing just how pretty and young Candice was, she is twenty-six years younger than Ritchie and naturally my first fear was that Ritchie was going to lose half of his stuff. However it does not appear that way at all, not only do they seem legitimately happy together, but they have now been together for two decades or more. Furthermore they share music, the single biggest aspect of both of their lives and that must be a beautiful connection to share with someone you love. So hurrah some stories have happy endings.

This is normally where I bring up a specific song to talk about, because I know the attention span on the average person these days struggle with a whole band or even album, but I found it incredibly hard to pick just one song by Blackmore’s Night. As of today Blackmore’s Night has released nine studio albums, which yields a lot of material to listen to and enjoy, which also leaves me with a lot of options to choose from. So somewhat randomly I am going to talk about “Shadow of the Moon.”

“Shadow of the Moon” is the title track off of their first album, released in 1997, so it seems a good a place to start as any for a dialogue about Blackmore’s Night.

One thing I like about “Shadow of the Moon” is it reminds me a little “Green Sleeves” the old English folk song, but I hear that song everywhere, possibly because it is one of the first songs I learned to play moderately well on guitar. Naturally Blackmore’s Night also does a cover of “Green Sleeves,” of course they do, that’s their thing. The folk styling of old medieval is a constant theme throughout Blackmore’s Night entire body of work and the charm that offers is present also in “Shadow of the Moon.” I really appreciate now Blackmore and Knight are able to create so many songs that sound like the style of the past. I am constantly forced to look up their songs to see if they are old songs I am unfamiliar with, sometimes they are, but mostly they are original tracks either composed of various past inspirations or completely new pieces of work. Every time I discover another song that sounds like it came from Camelot and it was created in the modern time I am impressed with just how in tune with this style Blackmore and Knight have become.

While the original work is definitely the most impressive content by Blackmore’s Knight I am very fond of their cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They are a Changing,”

The Time They Are a Chagin

That music for “The Times They are a Changing” in particular really captures what I really like about Blackmore’s Night, Ritchie and Candice seem so damn happy. Ritchie has always been a very relaxed individual, never seeming to get to excited, but seeing him jamming out with a very happy blonde angel with a super nice smile makes me all feel warm inside. It seems like they are really happy.

So If you still feel sad that Blackmore is not playing “Child In Time” anymore, check out this live performance:

Child In Time - Live

"Sisters of the moon," hippier words have never been spoken.

What was that? A French horn? The point is you might get to hear “Child In Time” or some other Deep Purple or Rainbow classic at a renaissance fair, or some other medieval theme festival, someday. I have to say, think we have a winner in Blackmore’s Night.

- King of Braves

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