Ian Charles | Minutes From Midnight

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Avant Garde: Avant-Americana Rock: Psychedelic Moods: Type: Lyrical
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Minutes From Midnight

by Ian Charles

Listen to this one while driving at night. Soulful, Timeless, Driving, Acoustic, Rhythmic, Sonic, Feedbacking... Ballads, Long Lonesome Blues, and melodic Alt-Folk/Psychedelic/Americana for the 21st Century wanderers, wonderers.
Genre: Avant Garde: Avant-Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Parallel
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5:10 $0.99
2. (That I'll) Take With me
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4:48 $0.99
3. Paint You A Picture
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3:36 $0.99
4. Lonely Symphony
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2:25 $0.99
5. Chain Of Rock
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3:31 $0.99
6. Sky Open Wide
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2:54 $0.99
7. Destination: A Dusty Road
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3:25 $0.99
8. Volume
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5:20 $0.99
9. Waitin' Too Long
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3:22 $0.99
10. Charlie
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2:16 $0.99
11. Grace And Fall
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4:36 $0.99
12. I Saw The Sun Go Down
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2:44 $0.99
13. Call It A Song
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4:56 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
"minutes from midnight"...

"Is a CD, preaching musical salvation through thought-provoking poetry that recalls the heyday of Dylan, Guthrie, and Kerouac". ~ Independisc.com

"An acoustic blueprint introduces the foundation of the song. Lyrically and melodically driven Singer/Songwriter, Ian Charles' 5th CD since 1995. On this journey he's surrounded by ghosts of Americana in 21st century America. with Dobro, Slide guitar, Light percussion and atmospheric vintage keyboard textures carrying the listener through moving, mellow, smoky observations of poetics and people"
~ Folkweb.com

It has been said...
"There is a daring promise of the day beyond tomorrow".

"Minutes from Midnight- The NEW album from singer/songwriter IAN CHARLES-

He's following the remarkable critical success of 2000's "Wishing Street" and the subsequent "LIVE at The Puppethouse- Solo Acoustic" EP, in 2002.

Ian further fulfills that promise to himself, his past accomplishments and his past, present, and future listeners with an album that includes 13 amazing new originals. Kind of like...

"Ballads, Blues, and Boasters for 21st Century America".

"There is an obvious continuity from his former incarnations as a Springsteen/Mellencamp/Robbie Robertson type of songwriter and performer with a strong southern gospel and Memphis blues vocal influence.
Though there is a unique and individual entity at play that is both mysterious and engaging to both listen to and watch. Either performing with his full band or as a "solo acoustic" in the most intimate setting of a coffeehouse. As he sings the stories, observations and reflections of their lives and his own. He is almost one on one in his "in person" persona.
Outside the confines of any particular venue, Ian Charles' music connects. It's electricity is obvious and is fully his own but generously given".

Kelly McManus- "Some Rebellion"-(abridged commentary) EyeSee Music Message Board

Ian Charles ~ Minutes From Midnight (ESM334578)
EyeSee Music 2004 / ASCAP. All Rights reserved.

Cover Art by Jim Ward Morris


to write a review

Jim Preston

It will save me.
This CD is a work of art. Here in the Catskills. It can get a little quiet sometimes. That is when you should listen to this CD. It's cascading songs fall from the pines and rest on my weary bones. Loneliness falls away, my spirit is saved.This is not Gospel. This is the word on this great record.
Anyway, enough poetics from me. I'll leave that to Ian Charles. Get this one.

Hank Fonda

Minutes From Midnight and Beyond
Oh yeah, then there was Ian Charles. There is a few Ian Charles' out there making music. None have what this cat brings to the table. This dude digs deep and finds a place I'm really in a vibe on. There is a song cycle here. It has a beginning, middle and end. Like most of his discs there is a sort of album design. Which I like. I think this is his best yet. I heard he is in a cave studio somewhere bring in a couple of dozen new songs. I can't wait. Really great stuff here. Love the cover art too. Remember cover art, downloaders?


Spread The Word
Issue #62 May ‘04
Ian Charles – Minutes From Midnight

The “Song of the Week” for 05-03-04 is:
“I Saw The Sun Go Down” by Ian Charles
Listen to it now in streaming RealAudio™ at:

Every so often we receive a CD that perfectly illustrates what
IndepenDisc is all about...

From out of left field comes an unassuming CD which, once
placed in the disc player, refuses to leave, forcing us to tell people
about how captivating it is, inspiring us to spread the word…

Minutes From Midnight is such a CD.

Ian Charles is a man preaching musical salvation. His use of poetry
is like that of no others since the hey day of a young Bob Dylan.
Throw in the feel of Woody Guthrie and the road weary traveler of
Jack Kerouac and we have a mirror image of Neil Diamond’s
Brother Love, except this Traveling Salvation Show is brought to
the masses from a musical disciple on the run from every thing that
could possibly haunt him.

11:55 has long been the metaphor for being as close to the end as
Minutes From Midnight is Ian Charles’ song cycle of how and why
he walked to the edge, yet instead of jumping he took a leap of
faith: Faith in music, Faith in the power of healing that a song can
deliver, and Faith in life that can be taken in and reflected on for
the better due to the insight of musical purity. He has seen the
promise land through music and has been inspired to share it with
us through his experiences both in life and in song.

“For a long time I spent my time / Worrying about things that
didn’t mean a thing,” he opens with. “Parallel” is sung using a
vocal that automatically reveals a rough traveled life gathered
together with a lot of too fast and too soon – the ancient tribal beats
chase down a man running from himself. It Relates a ripped-from
the-bare-soul confession, which is anointed with the promise of “to
spread the word I heard on a twelve inch wonder.” Yet as far as he
runs and as much as he preaches the word, there is still the fact that
“Far away in the back of my mind / the parallels that I can’t hide
from / Save Me.” But it isn’t the parallels that will save him. He
cries to be saved *from* them – “Took a breath and reached for
my lord / and knew I had a long way to go.” What follows are 12
more songs that personify his lord, the music, and the long way it
came about to Save Him. Yet, this isn’t a religious sermon; it is a
spiritual one, delivered by a unique talent that has had the gods of
music uplift him with an epiphany he must share.

New Traditional is the best way to describe the Acoustic Folk,
Sonic Rock, Gospel Soul sound that meshes silky smooth vocals,
that pronounce passion and bring to mind the elocution of Dan
Fogelberg, Cat Stevens, Johnny Cash, James Taylor and Paul
Simon, with musical compositions that paint landscapes so real, so
familiar, that with the close of your eyes you are easily transported
to the scene in which the song/story unfolds and takes place. Both
lyrics and music capture together what each accomplishes
separately, but when melded as one, bring a fulfilling sense of
achievement. It is done through the amazing writing of Ian Charles
(vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, spinet piano, Wurlitzer,
Hammond B-3, drums, percussion, harmonica), the solid playing
of Eric Michael Lichter (Hammond T-200, Korg, ARP string
ensemble, Wurlitzer, bass, electric guitar, slide acoustic guitar,
piano) and Dick Neal (Banjo, Dobro, electric guitar, mandolin),
and with guest appearances by Peter Kazaleh (electric guitar),
Mace Vitale (bass), and Jeremy Lichter (electric guitar). These
guys produce a sound so full that you’ll spend many spins just
discovering new “most favorite” musical highlights sprinkled
throughout each and every song – A joy that true music fans never
grow tired of.

Just about every song on this CD has something special to say, and
something unique to add, and something that I’d just love to
expound on… But, for the sake of space I’ll attempt to (briefly)
highlight a few more (while commenting on others)…

“Paint You A Picture” is absolute poetry in a love song that
contains two lines that touch my heart. “I wanna wait in line with
you / I wanna sneak you into the show.” It’s so pure that when he
alludes to how some sadness tore them apart and then as a
preamble to a crying harmonica he confesses, “I wanna see you as
I’m dying / I will love you forever,” you melt into the beauty of the
song. It is also where we get the first Coda of many. It’s been a
while since I can remember an artist using a coda to allow the song
to reverberate through us after it has ended, but Ian Charles not
only puts one in, he sprinkles many in throughout the CD, and all
of them work with the material in a way that’s both moving and

“Lonely Symphony” again brings a Bob Dylan sensibility into the
poetic styling of the romantic snapshot of a man sitting on a
balcony. He observes a weeping woman across the way talking to
herself and wonders about her. As he does, he sings his thoughts
aloud accompanied by a solemn electric piano, and a lone guitar
plucking. He wonders why her suitors have been rejected and asks,
“How did the boys that serenade you come to walk away / why did
their songs fall flat?” As he sings this, she hears the words and
realizes that he has made a correlation with her and her heartache,
causing her to stop crying in order to listen to his serenade. It
connects her to a point of spiritual bliss, and he recognizes this:
“Can’t help but notice as I sing my lonely symphony / That your
tears and your lone conversation have stopped.” With an off guard
resounding note he stops, and the song stops, leaving us astounded.

“Destination: A Dusty Road” takes us to a point that only a
masterful painting can. The music, relying on big lush cymbals,
Hammond organ, simple acoustics, and a host of instruments,
presents all we need to see and feel of this lone and sorrowful
dusty road. The atmosphere created by this tripping musical
conglomeration hangs heavy over the weary drifter who walks this
desolate stretch with no purpose but that of suffering for salvation:
“His name he says is Jesus.” And with that we are left to draw our
own conclusions as to the allegory, whether implied or not – again
classic Dylan takes us by surprise.

While many others deserve ink, I’ll point out that “Charlie” is a
perfect companion to James Velvet’s “John Alley,” having that
distinct medieval sound that Traffic used so well on “John
Barleycorn.” It’s no surprise that James’ long time collaborator,
Dick Neal, weighs in heavy here with a picking mandolin that has
all hell threatening to break loose at any minute. You can see and
feel the sinisterness seething like a satanic version of Led
Zeppelin’s “Bron-Yr-Aur.”

But it’s “I Saw The Sun Go Down” that defines Ian Charles. This
protest song is as poetic a musical statement as that of “Blowin’ In
The Wind.” Against a subdued yet driving bass and drum rhythm,
a tambourine and mandolin lead a document of a day which
outlines the horror of war and the devastation that the political
agenda of current day Washington has brought to us all in the
course of a simple day. Haunting and brief it delivers the message
not with a heavy hand, but a heavy heart. It’s 2:44 that covers
every anti-war protest since the ‘60s and rebirths them into the
‘00s at a time when they are needed.

Instead of ending there, we get one more to close this music
revival. “Call it A Song” is sung in a riveting sweet soul sound of a
stunning Otis Redding vocal floating over a church organ. This
gospel reading ties up the disc as presented in the opening: That
faith in music can be the salvation that not only saves you, but
makes your life pertinent. “So today the choirs of the valley / Are
singing of salvation.” We can hear the choirs, we can hear the
choirs of Ian Charles, we are saved by the music, and we are
inspired to spread the word…

Connor Smith

Quality cannot be ignored. This is a great set. Buy it!


Completely fucking awesome!

Mike Jurkovic

Minutes from Midnight
Over the last few weeks, new discs by KD Lang, Patti Scialfa, Wilco, and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band have come across the transom for me to review. Yet despite the big names and glossy PR packs, it is Ian Charles' latest CD for his own EyeSee Music label that I keep listening to time and time again. The reason for that is very simple, really. Compelling songs like "Parallel" (where the hammond organ snoodles alongside you to create a warm, meditative environment), the triumphantly lovelorn "(That I'll) Take With Me, "The gospel-colored "Call It A Song", the one-two punch of the raucous "Chain Of Rock", and the quiet "Sky Open Wide", connect deeply with the listener. Charles doesn't bombast you or tease you. He sets his songs in the familiar dawn and dusk of the rock-n-roll sound and, with a voice reminiscent of a young Gregg Allman, he brings you into his travelogue. Once enveloped you'll realize that, although we stubbornly cling to lofty self-delusions, our journeys are all one. Ably assisting Charles are Eric Michael Lichter, Dick Neal, Peter Kazaleh, Mace Vitale, and Jeremy Lichter.


Interesting record
I like where this artist direction is going in. The music is not country music. It is very full sounding in both the words and the use of piano and the like for rounding out the sound of the band. I think this is a conceptual art. Like a movie in songs. Very good music with great sound.

Alexia Moore

A masterful set from a brilliant songwriter/singer/poet
He told us he was on this site.
I just saw Ian in Brewster, New York at The Boonedog.
He was alone "solo" in concert. He was in excellent form. He reminds me of a poet with melody. He plays a very sensual style of guitar with a voice unlike almost anyone else. It's not that it's really unique it's just his own sound. No rip offs.
He's a brilliant, socially conscious, romantic. With poetry pouring from his spirit. I will not forget his show or his songs. This is a wonderful CD. I picked it up at the show. You should pick one (or two) up right here.

Ian Charles

What a cracking album!
You set up a website to sell your photos, then check Google to see if it gets a listing, and find there's some cheeky bugger who is using your name!
So you look at their site to see who they are, and find out that it is full of great Music.
“Minutes From Midnight” is my first introduction to my singer/songwriter namesake. And what an introduction!
A splendid, first rate album of songs that leave you with that cold shiver running down your spine every time you play it.
With some superb arrangements, the music draws you into the vast expanse that is the United States. I've been playing this album constantly for over a week, and everytime I hear something new in his work.
If you have never heard Ian Charles I strongly advise you to listen. This guy should be a huge star, and Minutes To Midnight is the album to do it for him. I too would like to see him live, and with luck our paths will cross in the not too distant future.
I wonder if he’d like to buy some of my Photos?

Jeff Stenett

This is amazing. I'm living with this Cd. I'm telling all of my friends about it. I'm telling you about it now.
I wish I'd bought it here because I paid more than this price for it.
This is the best CD I've bought this year so far. Check it out and "Turn Up The Volume".
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