The thinking behind Rockets was to have “a sort of renegade CD available at the merchandise stand.” Seeing as it consists mostly of alternate and/or live versions of songs from his small catalog, that’s a good description. It also provides a good sampler of the albums that aren’t Acadie, though we do get another version of “The Maker”, and a surgically altered mix of “Under A Stormy Sky” that becomes a collaboration with Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris.
But they’re not all retreads. The title track is described as (spoiler alert) “a revisit of the murder scene in the movie Sling Blade,” and shows how well he creates tension. “Sweet Soul Honey” is apparently very important to him, as he would go on to include the lyrics in his memoir; it would be more effective as the instrumental as intended. He further describes “Panorama” to be “as close as I’ve come to Samuel Barber,” but don’t expect any Adagio For Strings; this is all pedal steel guitar over thunderous drums.
Rockets is not a grand statement, nor was it meant to be. It is a worthy addition to his space on the shelf, and can be got nice and cheap from his own website.
Daniel Lanois Rockets (2004)—3