Friday, October 05, 2007

Harp All Made of Gold by Klyd Watkins

Klyd Watkins calls himself "The Time Gardener" and maintains a poetry-related website at I discovered The Time Garden and Klyd Watkins quite by accident a couple years ago and liked what I saw. The diversity of poets appealed to me. To my delight, I found some of my favorite poets and their work in Klyd's garden. Sharon Doubiago, Eve Hanninen, Christina Pacosz, CarrieAnn Thunell, David Pointer, Charles Potts, Charles Ries, and Joel Waldman visit TTG from time to time. I also discovered poets previously unfamiliar to me, who create their poetry in a variety of styles. In short, The Time Garden offers an eclectic mix of poetry and also features wide open discussions and commentaries that keep my brain cells active.

Watkins is a renaissance man: poet, musician, publisher with a history of creativity reaching back into the 60s. Time Barn Books publishes exceptional small books with glossy covers. ThunderShack produces Watkins poetry-spoken-to-music CDs and features some of Nashville's finest musicians as background. The featured review today is of Watkins' latest CD.

Harp All Made of Gold
CD of spoken poetry by Klyd Watkins with music by the Watkins family & friends
ID # 3447934019
CD with 9 tracks at $10 USA
Thundershack Production
529 Barrywood Drive
Nashville TN 37220-1636

The spoken words in this CD were originally the narrative poem titled "Jack," by Klyd Watkins. With Watkins' commanding voice accompanied by talented Nashville musicians and haunting Appalachian vocals as background, Harp All Made of Gold becomes an exceptional tour de force. In this allegory based on the fairy tale "Jack and the Bean Stalk," Watkins takes the story of Jack further, brings it to life with incredible depth and emotion.

Jack's desire is for the golden harp to sing for him in daylight instead of haunting his dreams at night. He desires this beyond reason. Accompaniment of fiddle, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, and harmonica delivers a sensual, penetrating power as the golden harp teases Jack with memories of "fee fi fo fum" and the giant. Background vocals and musical styles reflect the shifting topography of Jack's fears and fascinations. Musicians segue from rock to bluegrass to southern gospel to dulcet, and driving each transition is the resonant voice of poet Klyd Watkins. Each track is verbally and musically strong and hypnotic but I must admit the poet's bluegrass-style rendition of "Tourmaline" on track eight gave me goosebumps.

Nothing Klyd Watkins does in the way of poetry is ordinary and this CD produced by Bob Watkins for Thundershack is extraordinary in every way. The talented Watkins family and their Nashville friends have entertained delighted fans worldwide for years with their CDs. They're deserving of that loyal fan base. If you enjoy poetry and music, Harp All Made of Gold is highly recommended.

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I enjoy good writing by writers and poets who are not famous. My mother said I was born a hundred years too late. The older I get, the more I realize how right she was.

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