December 25, 2009

ABC NEWS

Sting says church feels like home: On a cold December night in New York City, an Arctic wind scratches at the exposed skin of any brave souls out on the streets. At Morningside Heights in Manhattan, a stream of pedestrians flows out of the chill and into the embrace of the magnificent Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine...
December 23, 2009

MUSIC CONNECTION

You know that when Bob Dylan finally deigns to record a Christmas album, it's either a sign of the Apocalypse or time to think what a Christmas record should and could be. That seems to be what Sting had in kind when formulating his ambitious new release, 'If On A Winter's Night...' Rather than duck into a Hollywood studio in mid-July to do one-take versions of 'Jingle Bells' and 'Here Comes Santa Claus', the former Police chief has crafted something much more expansive. Yes, Christmas is well represented here, but only as one part of a broader annual pageant - the sometimes bleak, uniquely beautiful season of snow and ice. Exploring the intracies of the artist's favourite time of year, 'Winter' is a "concept" album that broadens the scope of what a yuletide holiday album can be...
December 04, 2009

LISTEN

A Rock Star in Winter - Embracing his inner baritone and lutenist, Sting goes classical. The last few years have seen undisputed rock god Sting turning in a widening gyre away from rock, jazz and world-music idioms toward the less familiar airspace of classical music. The singer-bassist took up the lute in 2005 and the following year released a collection of works by Elizabethan composer John Dowland, 'Songs from the Labyrinth' (Deutsche Grammophon). This year saw the release of Twin Spirits (DVD, Opus Arte), a theatrical production about the relationship between Clara and Robert Schumann...
December 03, 2009

ZOOMER

All This Time: Sting, recently turned 58, looks remarkable - not "good for his age" or "well-preserved" or any of those other patronizing labels that are attached to people who defy chronology. Besides, it's embrace rather than defiance that defines Sting. He looks his age. He's also just made an album. 'If On a Winter's Night...' is a collection of traditional songs, hymns, lullabies and laments inspired by Sting's favourite season. His record company had suggested a Christmas album, but he wasn't partial to that idea...
November 27, 2009

MOJO

Lonely this Christmas - Following the Police reunion tour, Sting was asked to cut a Christmas album. Instead of conjuring a winter wonderland of gaily-wrapped presents, he's delivered a melancholy collection of German lieder and songs about death. "I do what I want and I don't give a fuck," he tells James McNair...
November 14, 2009

THE IRISH TIMES

A singular songsmith - As he releases a 'winter album', the former frontman of The Police talks about Belfast, playing with Stevie Wonder, making olive oil - and seeing ghosts... Sting wants my autograph. "Come on, just sign your name for me," he says shoving an expensive-looking pen my way. I tell him I don't usually do this sort of thing. "Just put a dedication," he insists. For reasons I still can't fathom, I scrawl "To Sting, from Brian XXX"...
November 12, 2009

LIVING NORTH

Taking the Sting out of winter: The origin of the word Geordie itself is rooted in Anglo Saxon lore, and has numerous definitions, but that's a debate for another day perhaps. What is less complex when considering Geordies more generally is their role on the world stage. In real terms, I'm sorry to say that despite the undoubted collective worth and character there are few contemporary Geordies who have cracked it. Local footballers have great note, Gazza and Alan Shearer seem to be most renowned - but would they be known in Fort Lauderdale - probably not. The films of South Shields born director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien et al) are better known than the man himself and while Ant and Dec (bless 'em) have captured the heart of primetime Britain - their fame in Minnesota or Michigan is less certain...
November 11, 2009

THE EVENING STANDARD

Sting: The X Factor kids are going nowhere: I was an altar boy and considered being a priest," says Sting, with a twinkle in his eye. "But I already had a strong interest in the female sex so my vocation lasted five minutes. I quite like dressing up, wearing a dress... just not permanently," he says, laughing at the idea of Father Sting...

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