Saturday, May 23, 2015

"The Swallowing" by Mary Dalton and Nick Barbieri

"All the Clubs from Holyrood to Brigus #6, Avondale, Conception Bay"
By Scott Walden (2007)
Artist retains rights. 

Like I was saying, Poetry Scores has a live premiere of a new poetry score on Saturday, May 30 at the Schlafly Tap Room in downtown St. Louis.

We scored "All the Clubs from Hollyrood to Brigus" by Mary Dalton, a poet of Newfoundland. "All the Clubs" is a twelve-poem sequence of "fictions, ruminations and riddles," as its subtitle says. Poetry Scores assigned the separate poems to different songwriters for an anthology-style score by committee: Nick Barbieri, Mark Buckheit, Robert Goetz, Ann Hirschfeld, Michael Martin, Eric Rose, Joe Thebeau, Three Fried Men, The Lettuce Heads and Mike Stuvland all scored Mary Dalton poems.

The poet has worked very closely with Nick Barbieri, who is producing the score for Poetry Scores. She advised the songwriters about pronunciations of local place names that her Newfoundland neighbors would recognize, recorded new videos of her poems for inclusion in our live show, and generally is cheering the project along.

As Nick pointed out, it makes sense that Mary Dalton would embrace our musical adaptation of her poems, because her sequence was itself the poetic translation of a series of photographs taken on the road between Holyrood and Brigus, Newfoundland, between 2005 and 2007 by Scott Walden.

"This series takes as its subject matter the bars and social clubs that line a 16-mile stretch of one of the oldest highways in Newfoundland," Scott Walden writes of his series of photographs, also titled "All the Clubs from Holyrood to Brigus."

"As social centres in their communities, the architecture and demographics of the clubs reveal a contemporary rural Newfoundland that is a mixture of young and old, corporate and mom-and-pop, threadbare and shiny new."

Mary Dalton's poems dive deeper down than architecture or demographics. She dives into the eyes of the club regulars Scott Walden captured with his camera. She sinks to the center and bottom of the human predicament on the social circuit between Holyrood and Brigus. Taverns and clubs are places where people gather together to drink alcohol, play games of skill and chance, and tell each other stories, and Mary Dalton's poems have much to say about why people seek each other's company, the games we play, the dreams and lies of alcohol, how the ritual of story both records experience and transfigures it.

In addition to producer of the poetry score and director of the big band that will perform it on May 30, Nick Barbieri is also one of the composers for "All the Clubs from Holyrood to Brigus." Nick scored the seventh poem in the twelve-poem sequence, "The Swallowing," as a four-song suite. In "The Swallowing," the poet dives to the bottom of the glass and of the person swallowing from it. Here are parts three and four of the suite.


"The Swallowing"
(Mary Dalton, Nick Barbieri)

Performed by Nick Barbieri and friends
Produced by Nick Barbieri
Mixed by Meghan Gohil of Hollywood Recording Studio, Los Angeles
Mastered by Lij of The Toy Box Studio, East Nashville

"The Swallowing, Part 3"

Nick Barbieri: acoustic guitars, bass, drums, keyboard, timpani & vocals
Brian Henneman (courtesy Bloodshot Records): electric guitars

Recorded by Nick Barbieri, except vocals recorded by Adam Long

The Swallowing, Part 4"

Nick Barbieri: drums, bass, piano & vocals
Frank Catalano (courtesy Ropeadope Records): tenor sax
Nathan Pence: upright bass.

Recorded by Nick Barbieri, except tenor sax recorded by Daniel Steinman, vocals by Adam Long

"The Swallowing" is available everywhere music is downloaded or streamed on Nick Barbier's solo record "Poetry Scored" (Hollywood Recording Studio) - for example, on iTunes.


The original announcement of the May 30 show with more details.


Mary Dalton

Nick Barbieri
recording Stefene Russell for Poetry Scores
Photo by Chris King

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