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The Sea to the North

[photo] by Mark T. Gould

From Sound Waves Magazine, November 2001. Reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2001 Sound Waves, Mark T. Gould. You are not allowed to reprint or redistribute this article for commercial purposes.

Garth Hudson: The Sea to the North
Breeze Hill Records

Rating: **** 1/2 (out of *****)

[CD cover]
On this, his first solo album after more than four decades in the popular music business, 64 year old Garth Hudson simultaneously steps out from behind his plethora of keyboards and horns and moves back toward them, delivering a deeply moving, interesting series of recordings that virtually escape categorization.

Hudson, who is most well known for his keyboard and saxophone work as a member of The Band, teams with Professor Louie and the Crowmatix, a Woodstock based group with which he has sporadically played for several years. Along the way, he also utilizes the musical services of the Bauls of Bengal; members of The Call; violinist Larry Packer, a veteran of his days with The Band; his wife, Maud Hudson, who contributes vocals; and Band co-member Levon Helm, who plays drums, and even contributes a drum solo, on one track.

This is an album clearly about discovery, about moving forward in a positive sense. Along the way, Hudson, playing tenor, bass and soprano saxophone, acoustic piano, accordion, melodica, pipe organ and various synthesizers, alternatingly pulls everything together and then drives it apart, and forward.

This is a most interesting album, difficult, if not darn near impossible to categorize or even describe. It begs to be listened to, many times, and it gives something new and something different, on each subsequent listen. It's a mighty tour de force from a master.

--Mark T. Gould

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