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When I Was a Boy
from the Sheeba Records site
[archived here without permission]

When I Was a Boy

The title of Jane Siberry's third release for Reprise Records speaks volumes. When I Was A Boy conjures up enigmatic images of sexual ambiguity, a foreboding sense of nostalgia and a wry recognition of impossibility -- particularly considering the subject spent her "boyhood" as a girl growing up in Canada. While Siberry's first two Reprise albums, The Walking and Bound By The Beauty, defined the outer limits of her highly praised songwriting skills (the former intense and introspective, the latter polychromatic and celebrative), When I Was A Boy is a reconciliation of the polar extremes.

Recorded in Canada, Switzerland and England over a three year period, When I Was A Boy was produced by Siberry, with three notable exceptions -- legendary producer / composer Brian Eno produced one track (the first single, "Sail Across The Water") and collaborated with Siberry on another ("Temple"), and fellow Canadian Michael Brook found time between playing guitar on Bryan Ferry's latest LP and helming The Pogues' new release to produce "Love Is Everything." An ardent fan, Eno calls Siberry's work "overwhelmingly lovely" and "indisputably great."

By marrying the intensity of The Walking with the simplicity of Bound By The Beauty, Siberry has conquered the intervening terrain with When I Was a Boy. In the four years since her last release Siberry has extended her artistic embrace to include filmmaking, photography and spoke-work performances. All of these disciplines influenced the songwriting on the new album. She was also invited by the owner Peter Gabriel to his Real World Studios in Bath, England last August for his annual songwriting workshop (an invitation is high praise -- other artists included fellow Canadian producer/performer Daniel Lanois and World Party's Karl Wallinger) -- an honour celebrated in the album's percussive, hypnotic rhythms. While songs like "Sweet Incarnadine", "The Vigil (the sea)" and "At The Beginning Of Time" have an inscrutable, cinematic quality, "Temple", "Love Is Everything" and "Sail Across The Water" reveal Siberry's deep sensuality and sensitivity. The bittersweet "Love Is Everything" says it all. Guest artists on the album include longtime Siberry collaborators guitarist Ken Myhr, vocalist / pianist David Ramsden and singer / actress Rebecca Jenkins (a featured performer in Tim Robbins political satire Bob Roberts). A special inclusion is "Calling All Angels", a duet with backing vocals by K.D. Lang from Wim Wenders film Until The End Of The World. (Siberry was recently invited by Wenders to compose music for the sequel of the highly praised film, Wings of Desire). When I Was A Boy is not a turning point for Jane Siberry, it's just the latest installment in her ongoing search for beauty and meaning in music."