Small Illuminations in a Darkening Sky
Pocket Shelley (as in a small volume of poems by the Percy Bysshe Shelley) is an ongoing project of songwriter Michael C. Mullen. The record was produced by Tim Mooney of American Music Club, who also plays drums, bass, glockenspiel and occasionally guitar. Carlos Forster of For Stars sings back-up vocals on one track, Kirk Heydt plays cello on three tracks, and Marc Cappelle plays flugelhorn on two. Michael does the rest -- piano, organs, synthesizers and acoustic guitars. As half of the songwriting team Adam Klein and Michael Mullen, Michael wrote the songs and played piano on three records by The Size Queens, two records by Glasstown, and two records by Roman Evening. 'Small Illuminations in a Darkening Sky' is the first record of songs for which he wrote both the music and the words, and serves as lead vocalist. In addition to the ten original songs is a cover of Bob Dylan's 'Farewell, Angelina', using the lyrics (including an extra verse) from the version on the Bootleg Series, Volume 2. The last song on the record is 'Duets: 'Night Mamma' from the Tony Kuhner/Jeanine Tesori musical 'Caroline, or Change'. The song was sung on stage by Anika Noni Rose. A soprano, but Michael approaches it with his deepest late night voice, and the sound of crickets is provided by sampled radio transmissions. Some of Michael's influences that you might be able to hear on the record include John Cale (say, 'Paris 1919'), Lou Reed (say, 'Coney Island Baby'), Leonard Cohen (say, 'Hey That's No Way to Say Goodbye'), Loudon Wainwright III (say, 'New Paint') and Stephin Merritt (say, 'Falling in Love With the Wolfboy').