by Craig Howieson
Finding contentment together and alone, Dan Knishkowy has created a powerfully poised, beautiful record to soak yourself in
The Cherries Are Speaking, the latest record from Brooklyn’s Dan Knishkowy, is billed as a book end of sorts; the third installment of a trilogy of records which began with 2020s sublime, Solid Love, and was followed by the equally impressive, but altogether quite different Good Timing earlier this year. Whereas Solid Love dwelled in alternative country and folk, Good Timing, with its largely instrumental framework, highlighted Knishkowy’s virtuosic guitar playing and innate ability to densely layer complex yet emotive compositions. The Cherries Are Speaking follows yet another path – with piano being at the forefront of most tracks and heavy use of elaborate orchestration. And while it does feel like a conclusion of sorts, it also hints at a new beginning for Knishkowy.
Adeline Hotel, despite being Knishkowy’s songwriting vehicle, has always sounded like a collaborative effort where he welcomes others into his orbit to share in his trip around the sun. The importance of that community and a deeper human connection in general is evident on The Cherries Are Speaking, but just as important are the moments that allow for Knishkowy to be truly alone. There are times on the record where it is just Knishkowy and his piano. In these instances, it is easy to picture him spot lit in a darkened room huddled over the keys – laying his soul bare. But it is never long before the house lights come up to reveal his cast of co-conspirators. Whether that be the gentle brush of drums, the faintest flutter of woodwind, or a chariot of strings, it acts as a reminder that sometimes that we may be just fine on our own, but sometimes most beautiful moments are those shared with others.
The Cherries Are Speaking is a powerfully poised, beautiful record of sumptuous brevity – with few of the tracks passing the two minute mark. Sometimes records that are so lushly produced can be difficult to penetrate to notice the truly special moments, like trying to enjoy the sprinkles embedded on an ice cream cone. That is why The Cherries Are Speaking is a record to soak yourself in, and not settle for a passing shower. Each spin is revelatory in its own way. And in both the quiet moments of solitary piano and swathes of neo-classical composition, we are reminded to make time and space for others, as well as ourselves.
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