This week, Brad (aka Mercury Teardrop) takes over 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 to pay homage to N.A.S. legends Charles Connolly and The Blindfold Experience, and to dive into ‘The Key’, their brand new single.
Brad does his bit…
As I think back to my favourite musical collaborations from my youth, a few significant ones still stand out. As some of you ‘N.A.S.-ers’ may already know, I’m someone who is firmly planted in middle-age and have been active in music, in various ways, over the past four decades. However, despite loving playing live in a band, writing and producing, I am first and foremost a life-long music FAN. I love music from many eras and most genres (disclaimer: I have sincerely tried to enjoy Country, but most of it, I just can’t get into, Sorry!). Growing up, I never understood why most people I knew seemed to like only one type of genre; or, at least a relative lack of diversity in musical taste. Honestly, it seemed completely silly to me. I loved all types of music and always took every opportunity to explore my curiosity. I grew up on a steady diet of 60s and 70s Rock, Jazz, Psychedelic and Folk. I recall roadtrips with my family listening to albums like Hejira by Joni Mitchell, Band on the Run by Wings, Blue Moves by Elton John (one of my faves), and so many more. But I do recall a few times my parents fell in love with songs that seemed to have a unique sense of novelty, the duets! And, in the 70s and 80s there were a lot!
The first collaboration of artists I can remember was Islands In the Stream, by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. A good song, but more than that it was the coming together of two amazing songwriters and artists when they had already established a massive audience. I remember the excitement the duo brought my parents and recall it being something special at the time. Of course there were many more to follow. Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand with You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, You’re the One That I Want, and the list goes on. The 80s got even better. Tom Jones and The Art of Noise, BB King and U2 (this one was a bit unfortunate, but a good try), and of course, who can’t love ‘Under Pressure’, by Queen and David Bowie… Collaboration perfection… in my humble opinion.
My point in all this rambling is that we have always been, and still are, excited by artists we love joining forces. The synergy of talent and creativity that can sometimes combine into something unique and otherworldly is palpable; musical Alchemy, so to speak. In ‘The Key’, two interstellar N.A.S. heroes have joined forces, and, in doing so, Michael Lind (The Blindfold Experience) and Charles Connolly have created a sublime and sonically superlative masterpiece.
The Key is first and foremost a beautifully constructed song. The lyrics are instantly relatable with universal themes of the human existential experience and the nuances of our relationships. In a way, we have all been searching for ‘the key’ to many of our daily challenges as we try to collectively make sense of our sometimes bizarre existence on this planet. But as we toil, we might as well enjoy the ride, right? The backdrop to the eloquently crafted lyrics is a sonic sculpture of massive proportions and detail. I believe Michael wrote the song and joined forces with Charles to co-construct an overall arrangement. Charles, as he does in his own unique way, adds and subtracts elements in mysterious ways to sprinkle on what can only be referred to as CC Magic. And, magic it is.
Michael and Charles are both so talented, it is hard for the listener to completely differentiate their individual ‘fingerprints’ on this track. Charles’ pop sensibility is definitely there and he delivers a true masterclass in both his vocal performance and production. Michael’s melodic, epic song writing, as in all his previous releases, takes the listener on a musical journey. As the track builds, it is clear to the listener, this track is something very special and would not be the same without each artist’s distinctive approach and expression. Michael is a true guitar player and brings a voice to the guitar that truly serves the song. The layers of guitar and the individual melodies could not be situated in the mix any better. Anchoring the track and truly keeping it locked in is the rhythm section. Charles has a master’s ear for drum and bass production as good as any Grammy-winning producer. On this track, his instincts are perfect. What can I say, this is a magical combination of artists who have created something entirely special.
But how did we get here?
I recently read a fantastic book entitled “The Web of Meaning” by Jeremy Lent. In the book, Lent does an eloquent job of extrapolating millennia of ancient philosophies, and more recently, the establishment of science findings, to expose a comprehensive argument for the deep interconnectedness of all animate (living) and inanimate (non-living) things. Of the many examples discussed, the notion of ‘Indra’s Net’’ has really resonated with me. Within this metaphorical construct, we are each represented as a single glittering jewel in each "eye" of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number and, as such, connected in infinite ways (Yes, I’m metaphorically representing Charles and Michael as jewels). Lent goes on to underscore another critical connection. He argues that since the beginning of human existence, the rhythm of music lives within us all, and exists to connect us to each other. It always has, and always will connect us together, despite the ways in which these connections evolve. I firmly believe The New Artist Spotlight community is a beautiful example of how truly connected by music we all are, and this is worth celebrating. The fact that Michael and Charles not only have connected as human beings and friends, but as artists and creators, has made our shared experience and communal love of music deeply enriched.
Now, I cannot sign-off without going back to the notion of musical Alchemy… Both of these talented artists in their own right are doing amazing things. Combined, they have created ‘The Key’, and, it truly is a GOLDEN key. The Blindfold Experience and Charles Connolly… Once again, collaboration perfection… in my humble opinion.
Listen to 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙆𝙚𝙮 on the Connolly’s Corner Spotify playlist HERE!
Listen to 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙆𝙚𝙮 on the Connolly’s Corner Apple Music playlist HERE!
Follow 𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙡𝙚𝙨 𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙣𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙮 on Instagram HERE!
Follow 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘽𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙙𝙛𝙤𝙡𝙙 𝙀𝙭𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 on Instagram HERE!
Follow 𝙈𝙚𝙧𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙮 𝙏𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙧𝙤𝙥 (Brad) on Instagram HERE!
Please share this post and let me know your thoughts in the comments below