tue 27/09/2022

singer-songwriters

Album: Beth Orton - Weather Alive

Beth Orton has never rushed her music. Her first four albums came one every three years, then since 2002 it’s averaged at a five year gap each time. So it’s no wonder also that there can be stylistic schisms from one to the next.In contrast to its...

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Album: Loudon Wainwright III - Lifetime Achievement

Celebrating, if that is the right word, his 75th year, Loudon Wainwright III offers us his 26th studio album in 52 rollicking years, Lifetime Achievement. Though he does have one Grammy on the shelf, for 2009’s double set, Charlie Pool Project,...

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Album: Ben Harper - Bloodline Maintenance

Throughout the 1990s and the first decade of this century, Ben Harper achieved global stardom, although the UK was a territory where he never achieved lift-off. By contrast, in the US, Australia and much of Europe, he’s regarded as a heavyweight (he...

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Album: Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Toast

Neil Young put Toast to one side in 2001, dismayed at its blue emotional terrain. Depicting his marriage to Pegi Young hanging by a thread, it was recorded with Crazy Horse in San Francisco’s Toast studio, where Coltrane once worked, but rats now...

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Album: Damien Jurado - Reggae Film Star

American singer-songwriter Damien Jurado is both prolific and enigmatic. His latest album follows too many to count (OK, not really, I think this is his 20th). On his own label, it's as opaque as anything he’s done, and that’s saying something.There...

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Album: James Vincent McMorrow - The Less I Knew

An artist with a myriad of strings to his bow – gifted wordsmith, multi-instrumentalist, captivating storyteller – what enables James Vincent McMorrow’s singularly personal songs to take flight is the fact that he’s also a supreme melodist.The Less...

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The superstar, the Svengali and a rising young talent

I'm at the New Theatre in Oxford. Elvis Costello is playing through the final stages of his 2022 UK tour. The venue is full of memories: I saw The Kinks and Tom Jones here in the 1960s and then The Who in the early 70s. On my left, there’s Paul...

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Album: Nick Mulvey - New Mythology

In these meta times when everything – EVERYTHING! – is ironic, a smirk to be replayed forever on a screen, the last thing we expect is a hippy, a proper real-life hippy, preaching oneness and love. Even yoga sorts these days mostly go on about...

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Album: Mary Gauthier - Dark Enough to See the Stars

“Songs are what feelings sound like,” Mary Gauthier told medics from Brigham & Women’s Hospital as she participated in the Frontline Songs post-Covid initiative that aimed to help doctors, nurses and first responders process their pandemic...

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Album: Lykke Li - EYEYE

Swedish singer Lykke Li has called her new album Eyeye “her most intimate work to date”. In regard to Lykke Li’s music, this feels almost impossible at this point. Her music has time and time again explored the depths of heartbreak. Is it possible...

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Album: Emeli Sandé - Let's Say For Instance

Around a decade ago, Scottish singer Emeli Sandé appeared during a golden time for original female songwriters. On well-wrought, richly-inhabited songs such as “My Kind of Love” she quickly established herself as a characterful performer able to...

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Album: The Shires - 10 Year Plan

Seems odd now, but there was a time when many Brits found country music laughable. It was a common thing. For instance, when Keith Richards embraced country, Jagger initially thought it a joke. By the time I was coming up in the Eighties, post-punk...

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