Chris Hadfield’s “Space Sessions”

Cover of 'Space Sessions'Like others coming home from OVFF (the Ohio Valley Filk Festival), I found find Chris Hadfield’s CD, Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can, waiting for me. My reactions are mixed. It has some very good songs on it, but it’s not the CD I expected.

Hadfield is an astronaut and a musician. his “I.S.S. (Is Someone Singing)” is very popular among filkers, and I hope a convention can snag him as a guest. Space Sessions is described as “11 new songs — all recorded in space. … Hadfield says he hopes the music, lyrics, and the unique circumstances of its creation will give listeners a taste of life in outer space.”

The album includes some space-related songs which I want to keep and which I’m sure I’ll hear other people singing, including “Big Smoke,” “Feet Up,” and “Ride that Lightning.” “Farm Auction” isn’t about space, but it channels Stan Rogers perfectly. The songs, except for a cover of “Space Oddity,” are all by Hadfield, in some cases co-authored with his brother Dave or his son Evan.

What I was expecting was acoustic recordings, just voice and guitar, with whatever artifacts result from recording on a space station in free fall. That would have been something unique. But he used a laptop with GarageBand, and the credits mention other performers on piano, drums, bass, guitar, and keyboard. With all the added instruments, the album loses the sense of something recorded by someone with a guitar in zero gravity. It sounds more like a conventional studio recording. I don’t regret getting Space Sessions, but I really would have liked that uniqueness. There can be only one first album recorded in space.

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