Music Of The Month: December 2021

Phil Cook All These Years

Michael Hurley, who turned 80 on December 20th, put out a great new album this month, The Time Of The Foxgloves. It sounds like he’s just sitting out on my front porch playing through a batch of new tunes along with any musicians who might happen down the street as the afternoon rolls by. I feel like it will be one I listen to pretty regularly when the weather turns and I’m sitting out on the porch myself. But however worthy it may be, it’s not quite my pick of the month.

I’m sure it says something about my current state of mind that for two months running my pick is an instrumental record. I guess these more contemplative albums just fit my mood as Suzy and I are progressively shutting ourselves down again to wait out the omicron storm.

And so it is that this month’s pick is Phil Cook’s All These Years. According to Cook, he used his time during the initial Covid shutdown to dedicate himself to “re-learning” the piano. The result is a mostly quiet record of solo piano pieces. Elements from all his usual influences are here, from folk to jazz to gospel, blended into an intimate, meditative whole. Beautiful. 

Get some music in your ears, everybody!