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Leave Your Sleep

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iTunes Review

Natalie Merchant’s first studio album in seven years is a collection of children’s poems set to music, but Leave Your Sleep is a far more substantial and resonant creation than that description might imply. These 26 tracks marry texts by writers both famous (Robert Lewis Stevenson, e.e. cummings, Odgen Nash) and obscure to musical styles ranging from Cajun to Celtic to classical. Merchant brings out the dark shadows and sweet absurdities in these verses, veering from the silly (Calico Pie”) to the ominous (“The Sleeping Giant”) and tragic (“Spring and Fall”). “Autumn Lullaby” and “Maggie and Milly and Molly and May” are especially haunting and otherworldly. When Natalie cuts loose, she fills tracks like “Adventures of Isabel” and “The Peppery Man” with great zest and jauntiness. Wynton Marsalis, Medeski, Martin & Wood, the Klezmatics and the Fairfield Four are among the diverse cast of guest musicians here. By turns whimsical, eerie and poignant, Leave Your Sleep is a work of great ambition, filled with youthful imagination and adult wisdom.

Customer Reviews


I can't add much to the praise that is already heaped upon Natalie Merchant. So, I'm not going to try. Instead, I feel an absolute and permanent connection to her - having begun listening to her in my adolescence with 10000 Maniacs through to now - at 40 plus, heading on 50, Natalie has one of those amazingly powerful voices that rages and ravages the soul while conveying an absolute sense of beauty. In this album, I am overwhelmed. It's almost too much of a good thing. I don't care what the name of the song is, or sometimes even the words - it's just the beautiful, beautiful voice and the incredible craft that makes every one of her songs seem like they were written a century ago and today, at the same time.

The King of China's Daughter, Indian Names, and Old Mother Hubbard are just a few of these playful tracks that aren't childish, but are clearly a mother's love expressed for her children. These aren't children's songs, these are songs for parents, for those who love their children with a depth and passion that can only be expressed in song. I'm so incredibly grateful to Natalie (Thank you!!!!!) for giving me something that I can give to my children to say - see? This, THIS, this is how I feel about you! Fisher's "The Lovely Years" is also in this vein and fits well for the self-indulging parent who wants to wallow in their "parentness" for a few hours.

This is simply one of the most powerful, personal, and meaningful albums I have ever owned - and I have amassed a HUGE collection of music over the past three decades. Everyone will understand how great this album is, but it's those of us who cried watching "Where the Wild Things Are", or refuse to watch any movie in which a child is kidnapped or harmed, who know how sacred our children are to us, that will fall in absolute love with this album. Again, thank you, Natalie, I love what you do. Many many of us do too.


Been waiting years for something new from Natalie and we are getting 27 songs! Guess she was busy being a mother and now shes back. Really happy to have this new release. She has such an amazing golden voice, I love hearing it. Been a fan of everything she has done for 20 years.


This album has been years in the making and the love Natalie Merchant has for these poems shows. An ecclectic and superb mix of musical styles. Natalie has never sounded better and I'm so happy she's back. Bravo!


Born: October 26, 1963 in Jamestown, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After rising to fame at the helm of the popular folk-rock band 10,000 Maniacs, Natalie Merchant enjoyed even greater success as a solo artist during the mid-'90s. Her literate, socially conscious songs established her among the preeminent women in pop music, while her solo debut -- 1995's Tigerlily -- helped pave the way for a number of female performers in a pre-Lilith Fair market. She continued releasing albums well into the 2000s, often examining specific genres or subjects, although Tigerlily...
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