Rolling Stone (1/31/02, p.53) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...Her newly husky alto lends even more gravitas to an artist who has never lacked it..."
Entertainment Weekly (11/16/01, p.172) - "...An often exquisite minor-key outing..." - Rating: B
Mojo (Publisher) (12/01, p.100) - "...A fine record..."
This is an Enhanced CD, which contains both regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
Personnel includes: Natalie Merchant (vocals, piano, Fender Rhodes piano); Katie Goldberg (vocals); Gabriel Gordon (acoustic & electric guitar); Greg Leisz (acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin); Sandra Park, Sharon Yamada (violin); Karen Dreyfus (viola); Alan Stepansky (cello); Sandra Church (alto flute); Chris Tedesco (trumpet); Elizabeth Steen (Hammond organ); Patrick Warren (pump organ); Graham Maby (bass); Matt Chamberlain (drums).
Producers: T-Bone Burnett, Natalie Merchant.
Recorded at Allaire Studios, Shokan, New York; Sunset Sound, Hollywood, California; Clinton Studios, New York, New York between June 15 & September 9, 2001.
Personnel: Natalie Merchant (vocals, piano, Fender Rhodes piano); Mavis Staples (vocals); Greg Leisz (acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, banjo, mandolin); Erik Della Penna (electric guitar, lap steel guitar, classical guitar, banjo, oud); Gabriel Gordon (electric guitar, E-bow); Krystof Kuznik, Robert Shaw , Jung Sun Yoo, Fiona Simon, Bruno Eicher, Ann Kim, Karen Marks, Soohyun Kwon, Sandra Park, Lisa Kim, Laura Seaton, Sharon Yamada (violin); Karen Dreyfus, Nick Cords, Vivek Kamath (viola); Elizabeth Dyson, Alan Stepansky , Sara Selver (cello); Sandra Church (alto flute); Guy Klucevsek, Van Dyke Parks (accordion); David Krakauer (clarinet); Mitch Estrin (bass clarinet); David Ralicke (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trombone); Tony Kadleck (trumpet); Phillip Myers (French horn); Keefus (piano, keyboards); Patrick Warren (pump organ, chamberlin); Elizabeth Steen (Mellotron); Matt Chamberlain (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Jim Scott .
Recording information: Allaire Studios, Shokan, NY (06/15/2001-09/09/2001); Clinton Recording Studios, New York, NY (06/15/2001-09/09/2001); Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA (06/15/2001-09/09/2001).
Photographer: Laura Wilson.
Arranger: Stephen Barber.
In the post-Lilith Fair solo career of former 10,000 Maniacs frontwoman Natalie Merchant, MOTHERLAND stands as something of an achievement. It melds the lyrical craft she began developing all those years ago with the Maniacs, the contemporary pop sensibilities she's been crafting since the beginning of her solo work, and a variety of new influences that seem to have seeped in somewhere along the way. Things kick off distinctively with the creepy, violin-colored reggae slow-burner "This House is on Fire." From there it's off to an eclectic mix-and-match of styles, including the folk-ballad feel of the title track, the sultry blues of "Put the Law on You," and the gospel-soul tinge of "Build a Levee" (where Merchant is aided by considerable pipes of Mavis Staples. Even as MOTHERLAND traverses a variety of genres, the distinctive approach Merchant applies to the songwriting, performance, and arrangements makes this both one of her most memorable and most consistent solo albums.