Blackmore’s Night is now 11-plus years into their career. It began with a chance meeting between guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and vocalist Candace Night during 1989. Their paths crossed again in 1995 when she provided background vocals for a Rainbow album. By 1997 romance and a new group were in the making.
They are basically a rock/renaissance group that has a unique sound. They have always been more popular in Europe than the United States but I caught their act in Raleigh, North Carolina a few years ago and it was one of the better concert experiences I have had in recent years.
During their 11 years together they have released eight studio, two live, three compilation, and four DVD albums; all have been well written and produced. I have found them to be consistently excellent and if you like their eclectic brand of fusion, any of their albums would be a fine listening experience.
Autumn Sky is their eighth studio album and for the most part it continues their tradition of modernizing renaissance stories and music in a rock vein. I say “for the most part” as there are a couple of tracks that almost depart from this style and move in a harder direction. Ritchie Blackmore is a terrific rock guitarist and his work is always welcome, but I appreciate Blackmore’s Night for a certain style and would prefer they remain within that concept.
Regardless, if you are a fan of the group, there is a lot here to appreciate. “Vagabond” is a typical Blackmore’s Night track as it combines Night’s vocals of fantasy lyrics with a guitar, bell, and violin providing support. “Sake of the Song” is a raucous dancing and drinking track. “Strawberry Girl” is joyful, melodic and upbeat. The mournful melody of “Health to the Company” suits its wistful lyrics. And the instrumental “Night at Eggersberg” is a nice string piece.
“Highland” and “Journeyman” both move very close to rock music as Blackmore takes several tasty solos. The only track that comes up short is the band’s cover of The Kinks “Celluloid Heroes.” For a renaissance-themed album, this ode to Hollywood is an odd choice.
Autumn Sky fits in well with the past music by Blackmore’s Night. By this point in their career, the albums and music flow into one another well. If you are a fan of the band or have been looking for something a little different, then this is an album for you.