Songs of William Blake

Preview 4 MP3s:

“The year 2007 marks the 250th anniversary of Blake’s birth, and I offer my musical performances of Blake’s poems as a birthday tribute to a man whose art has enriched my life. I hope listeners will enjoy the CD as much as I have enjoyed making it.” — Kevin Hutchings

Musicians on Songs of William Blake

Sahra Featherstone: Violin, Celtic Harp, tin whistle, low whistle, harmony vocals
Jason Fowler: Guitar on tracks 1, 3, 5, 9, 10, 11; resonator guitar on track 12
Jeff Heisholt: Keyboard on track 12
Kevin Hutchings: Lead and harmony vocals, guitar
Carl Jennings: Keyboard on tracks 3 and 6
Treasa Levasseur: Accordion on tracks 7 and 8
Joe Phillips: Double bass
Robert Sibony: Drums and percussion on tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13

The following is brief extract from the liner-note essay to the CD Songs of William Blake:

“William Blake and the Music of the Songs”
By Kevin Hutchings

BlakeThis musical project is a tribute to William Blake (1757-1827), the English Romantic poet, painter, and engraver who strove to change the world through the creation of visionary art. An eccentric and enigmatic man, Blake was no ordinary genius. Not only did he claim to see angels and converse with spirits, he considered himself a prophet whose work was divinely inspired, famous in eternity, and a vehicle toward apocalypse here on earth. Although he failed to achieve earthly renown during his lifetime, Blake remained supremely confident of his poetry’s importance: “Mark well my words!” he exclaimed; “they are of your eternal salvation.”

Understandably, perhaps, such bold assertions caused some of Blake’s contemporaries to accuse him of insanity, and one or two modern-day scholars have searched his art for symptoms that would diagnose his supposed madness. But mere madmen rarely produce such an extensive and intellectually coherent body of art as Blake has bequeathed to us. Nowadays, Blake’s poems, engravings, and paintings are studied and celebrated by scholars and enthusiasts the world over. Given the neglect and poverty he experienced during his long and inspired career, Blake’s modern-day fame and critical acclaim may be seen as a vindication of his talent and an affirmation of his own sense of artistic self-worth.

But our modern understanding of Blake remains incomplete. Preoccupied with the monumental task of deciphering his esoteric symbolism and mythology, the experts who have helped us to understand and appreciate Blake’s verbal and visual art have rarely had time to consider his musical side. Hence this project, which is part of an imaginative effort to explore and celebrate Blake the musician.

- Kevin Hutchings

Want to read more? The remaining text for this essay, including a biographical discussion of Blake’s musicianship, is available ( in the 24-page liner-note booklet that accompanies Kevin Hutchings’ CD Songs of William Blake.

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