Everybody loves to sing in the bathroom. Why? Because that tile-encased reverberant space makes almost any voice sound really good. A subway station is very much like a big bathroom, but with a dirtier floor. Given its acoustic properties, it’s surprising that no one has thought to record in a subway station. Peter Mulvey’s Ten Thousand Mornings changes that. Recorded in the Boston underground subway system, this CD defies the notion that you need an expensive recording studio to make a decent-sounding CD.
Recorded entirely at the Davis Square T station on weekends, none of the songs on Ten Thousand Mornings is longer than 4 minutes, primarily because that was the largest window of time between trains. Several of the songs are framed by the sounds of arriving and departing engines. Made up solely of cover material, Mulvey’s eclectic tastes span a range from Paul Simon, Leo Kotke, Bob Dylan, and Gillian Welch to Elvis Costello, Randy Newman, David Hidalgo, Lennon and McCartney, Dar Williams, and even Marvin Gaye. His performing style combines percussive syncopated fingerstyle guitar with a commanding slightly gritty vocal style. Jazzy inflections, funky rhythms and clever alternative guitar tunings make Mulvey's versions of even traditional songs like "Rain and Snow" sound unique. Accompanied by a number of equally talented musicians including Jennifer Kimbell, Erin McLeowan, Sean Staples, and Anita Suhanin on vocals, David Goodrich on guitar, Mike Piehl on snare drum, and Chris Smither on shoes, Ten Thousand Mornings features rustic but never Spartan musical arrangements.
Using a Roland VS-890 digital recorder Mulvey and mixing engineer Dave Chalfant created a remarkably good sounding recording. Mulvey's voice is both natural and commanding without using the many studio effects that most big-name pop stars and major heavyweight producers seem to feel are essential. Instead of gimmicks, Ten Thousand Mornings uses talent and musicality to create powerful songs. Want to hear what you can do with a bit of money and a lot of creativity? Give Ten Thousand Mornings a listen and find out.