Blackmore’s Night – Nature’s Light (earMusic)
Although guitarist and songwriter Ritchie Blackmore is undoubtedly best known as an original member of classic rock staples Deep Purple and as the leader of the early metal band Rainbow, he has been in this band – together with his wife, singer Candice Night – longer than he was in either of those groups. And that is including all of reunion tours that he played with both DP and Rainbow – and there were several.
Blackmore’s Night has been going for over 25 years now, since a time when Night was merely his girlfriend, and he has continued to go back to the well on the group, branching out into varied directions like prog rock and particularly folk. Blackmore and Night have been the only ongoing members of the band over the years, though they have worked with literally dozens of sidemen and members over the years.
Nature’s Light is the band’s 11th album, and it fits into the group’s trad-folk-rock like a glove, with a bit of tweaking for the new millennium, but surprisingly little.
The first single (and CD opener), “Once Upon December,” is a traditional folk ballad which would not feel out of place being performed at a renaissance fair, though it does have slight Middle Eastern and Eastern European influences.
It’s kind of hard to believe that the jaunty old-fashioned song was played by the same guy who provided the aggressive classic axe stomp on “Smoke on the Water,” but that has been a constant with Blackmore’s career for years now. The guy is not only talented when it comes to heavy riffs, but his playing works in all sorts of styles. After all, as a kid he learned classical guitar.
Nature’s Light looks at the more laid back, mostly acoustic side of Blackmore’s talent. However, even in this particular get-up, Blackmore and his wife and band touch on several styles and genres.
More modern-feeling folk rock follows in the up-tempo acoustic jam “Four Winds,” a sweet and propulsive story song with intriguing instrumentals. The atmospheric instrumental “Darker Shade of Black” pays sonic tribute to 1960s prog-rock band Procol Harum, as is suggested by the title, which is undoubtedly a play on PH’s title “Whiter Shade of Pale.” They also do a new version of their lovely 1997 ballad “Wish You Were Here.”
Things close out with the sweet folk-rock ballad “Second Element” (which honestly, should really be the first single from the album) which feels completely musically up-to-date and even has an old-school Blackmore electric guitar solo break weaving in and out throughout.
It just goes to show you, no matter how much you change, you can still stay the same.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2021 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 11, 2021.