Setting poems by John William Carroll, Reuben Butchart's music combines a soulful contemporary singing style with intricate, detailed arrangements that make use of the classical and jazz skills of The Millworkers, playing woodwinds, cello, guitar, bass, drums, glass percussion, and more.

"...elegantly crafted and steeped in adult feeling, proves that sophistication and emotion need not be opposed values."
      - Alex Ross, Music Critic of The New Yorker

"Delightful, pure music....Stained with tenderness.... with poetic depth and fine musical structure....a trail of jewels."
      - Antony of Antony and the Johnsons

"Butchart's soulful melodies and lush arrangements bring breath and heartbeat to Carroll's poetry."
      - Joan Wasser of Joan As Police Woman

"...dances with classical and jazz styles in one sweeping gesture, at once earthly and ephemeral."
      - Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond

Recording "The Gull and I" at the Watermill Center



Nameless and Awake; Eight Poems by John William Carroll is presented both as a digital album, released through iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp, as well as a limited edition hardbound art book with compact disc, containing over 32 pages of Butchart's illustrations and Carroll's typeset poems.



Composer Reuben Butchart

Singer-songwriter and composer Reuben Butchart collaborated with poet John William Carroll and ten multi-instrumentalists to develop and record a contemporary art song cycle during their artist residency at Robert Wilson's Watermill Center.

A seasoned solo performer in the New York indie music scene and former pianist with Antony and the Johnsons, Butchart has penned two albums of soul-tinged orchestral pop and has also composed for dance and film.

Poet John William Carroll, a retired professor of classics, theater, and creative writing, first gained recognition in the 1970's for directing members of his commune in Classic Greek, Shakespearean, and his own original plays. "John Carroll is perhaps one of ten poets who will be read into the next century," wrote Library of Congress Poet Laureate Josephine Jacobsen.

Prior to their arrival at Watermill, Butchart and Carroll combed through Carroll's extensive writings to select poems to set to song. In a few cases, Carroll re-wrote lines to conform to Butchart's melodic structures. In most cases, Butchart broke away from conventional song form to follow the original path of the poet's verse, creating eight through-composed art songs. 

Carroll's poems and Butchart's melodies were shaped sonically by The Millworkers into lush arrangements with piano, bass, drums, saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet,flutes from around the world, lute, guitar, cello, voices, metal bells, slit drums, shakers, and crystal bowls.

Lyrically pastoral, natural, and spiritual, Butchart's third album is musically eclectic - running the gamut from chamber folk to latin jazz to avant-indie to ethereal ballad. 

Poet John William Carroll

The Watermill Center

The Watermill Center

In this excerpt composer/producer Reuben Butchart takes a break during his Watermill residency to talk about the arranging and recording process. 



Composer, singer, and pianist Reuben Butchart and The Millworkers brought their song cycle to the WNYC Studios. Host David Garland spoke with Butchart about the songs and how the music came together.

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