A sage singer/songwriter named Willie Nelson once extolled the joys of "making music with my friends" and a younger, but perhaps no less sage, singer/songwriter named Neil Finn obviously got the message.
But instead of heading out "on the road again," New Zealander and Crowded House frontman Finn invited many of his musical friends and their families to his home country and studio to create and record The Sun Came Out in three week's time.
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Released under the 7 Worlds Collide moniker (the name comes from a line in Finn's gorgeous CH tune "Distant Sun") it is the second such album Finn's headed up for a charitable cause, this time international poverty relief organization Oxfam. But whereas the first 7WC album found the likes of The Smiths' Johnny Marr and members of Radiohead joining Finn to cover their favorite tunes in a series of NZ concerts and a live album, The Sun Came Out features many of the same cast, and newcomers like KT Tunstall and members of Wilco, on two discs of newly created, original material.
And what beautiful, one-of-a-kind material it is. Kicking off with the stellar "Too Blue," penned by Marr and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, the album features many such dream collaborations and pleasant surprises such as the strong songwriting and vocal debut of Radiohead drummer Phil Selway.
The music is generally the melodic pop that has marked Finn's long musical career from Split Enz to Crowded House to solo work, but he liberally shares lead vocal duties with multiple participants including his wife and two sons. The project was truly a family affair with other contributors including the offspring of the aforementioned Marr and Tweedy, and the multi-generational love of music is readily apparent throughout.
Simply put, it's great music to benefit a great cause. The Sun Came Out is available now.