Alain Johannes: A Hair-Raising Tribute Johannes chronicles the loss of his wife in heartbreaking, vivid detail throughout the deeply felt "Speechless." With little more than his cigar-box guitar and mournful cello melodies, he gives a gripping account of trying to escape what he describes as a "resonating drone."
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Speechless

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Alain Johannes: A Hair-Raising Tribute

Review

Alain Johannes: A Hair-Raising Tribute

Speechless

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Johannes chronicles the loss of his wife in heartbreaking, vivid detail throughout the deeply felt "Speechless." Courtesy of Ipecac Records hide caption

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Courtesy of Ipecac Records

Johannes chronicles the loss of his wife in heartbreaking, vivid detail throughout the deeply felt "Speechless."

Courtesy of Ipecac Records

Thursday's Pick

Song: "Speechless"

Artist: Alain Johannes

CD: Spark

Genre: Folk

For close to two decades, guitarist Alain Johannes had a fruitful musical partnership with his wife Natasha Shneider in the rock band Eleven. Starting in 1991, the two spawned five studio albums, and toured as a supporting act for heavy hitters such as Pearl Jam and Queens of the Stone Age (Johannes is a touring member of the latter). But that creative partnership came to a sudden halt when Shneider succumbed to a long battle with cancer in 2008.

On his debut solo album, Spark, Johannes chronicles the loss in heartbreaking, vivid detail, especially in the deeply felt "Speechless." With little more than his cigar-box guitar and mournful cello melodies, Johannes gives a gripping account of trying to escape what he describes as a "resonating drone." But Johannes conveys his devastation best when he doesn't use words at all. The song's soaring chorus — built around Johannes' multilayered vocal ahhs, which eerily resemble the melody of a church hymn — provides the album's most chilling, hair-raising moment.

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Album
Spark
Artist
Alain Johannes
Label
Dangerbird Records
Released
2010

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