After producing groundbreaking albums for, and often with, Peter Gabriel, U2, Robbie Robertson, and the Neville Brothers, Daniel Lanois's self-produced debut album proved at once familiar in its thick, swampy sonics and startling in its pared-down, intimate scale. Lanois's song cycle is steeped in the francophone cultures both of his Québécois heritage and of his adopted New Orleans home, mixing English and French as easily as Lanois himself alternates from soulful croon to plainer folkiness. Populated with rural characters, his detailed stories evoke a lost time through two-step acoustic love songs, narrative ballads, and a hushed, propulsive prayer; "The Maker" features a ghostly, restrained harmony vocal by Aaron Neville. The underlying historical link between old Acadian culture in his title and its descendant Cajun culture surviving in Louisiana's bayous and backwoods gives the songs and these performances a haunting, and haunted poignancy. --Sam Sutherland
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Pieter | Johannesburg | 10/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This beautifully textured masterpiece sparkles with atmospheric songs of great profundity including ballads like Still Water, The Maker & Where The Hawkwind Kills and uptempo tracks like O Marie and Jolie Louise. Brian Eno must also be credited for making the music so special.
The exquisite melodies have a folkie feel but the playing and production give the music an ethereal, brooding dimension that puts it in a league of its own. O Marie is sung entirely in French, while Jolie Louise and Under A Stormy Sky have alternating French and English verses.
The album concludes with a subdued rendition of Amazing Grace. There is a certain spiritual quality to the music that is hard to define, but also found in the work of fellow Canadian Jane Siberry, in Peter Gabriel's songs Blood Of Eden & Come Talk To Me and of course in the work of Emmylou Harris.
Lanois produced and played on Emmylou's exceptional album Wrecking Ball; on her live album Spyboy there is an impressive 8 minute + version of his composition The Maker. Acadie is a very uplifting listening experience and slightly better than his other great album For the Beauty of Wynona.