Read: Jon Langford’s Skull Orchard

 

Published recently by
Verse Chorus Press, it’s a primo Langford primer, in words, music and images.

 

By Lee Zimmerman

Jon Langford’s prolific career seems to know no bounds. A
superb solo practitioner, as well as the musical mainstay of such skewed
country punk outfits as the Mekons, the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, the Three Johns
and the Waco Brothers, he’s also an artist and an author of considerable merit.
Both an insurgent and an expatriate, his restlessness and ambition have
emblazoned his reputation as a daring provocateur for the better part of the
past 30 years.

 

Skull Orchard
Revisited
, his second collection of commentary, consolidates all the
elements and incidentals that make Langford such a fascinating character. An
ostensive glance back at his Welsh roots, it boasts a variety of prose,
photographs, paintings and songs, the latter of which retrace his near classic Skull Orchard album in a dramatically
different guise. The literary entries from Langford and his brother David, a
novel A through Z primer on Welsh history and culture, the autobiographical
introduction, and Langford’s first attempt at fiction provides a whimsical yet
insightful portrait of a renaissance man in the full flush of a creative
sprawl.

 

 

 

Unlike some musicians who turn to painting to indulge their
ego as much as their muse, Langford’s artistic outpour is driven by genuine
sense of purpose. Many of the paintings in his portfolio once graced album
covers and the combination of realism and fantasy is both striking and surreal.
The text is equally insightful, and Langford displays a knowing combination of
wit and whimsy. As far as the music on the bonus CD, suffice it to say it’s
still a prime consideration and here’s it’s as effusive as ever. His ability to
skip between genres – a bit of pub rock here, a dash of reggae there, a men’s
chorus, assorted players and Langford at the helm throughout – effectively
redefines his classic Skull Orchard,
even adding four more songs to enhance it further.

 

Few artists could offer such a perfect primer for the
novice, while still treating fans to such an impressive companion package. In
assuming the role of a renaissance man, Langford plays the part perfectly.

 

 

 

 

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