With four new (well, new-ish in some cases) albums attained this last week, this week’s Music Monday will focus entirely upon these albums. Included in the list are Glen Hansard’s new solo album, a tribute album to Fats Domino, and two albums by two awesome Australian artists, Ash Grunwald and Xavier Rudd. Hope you find something you like!
First up is Glen Hansard’s solo album, Rhythm and Repose. Glen Hansard is perhaps best known as the frontman of Irish group The Frames, and is also one half of folk duo The Swell Season. On top of this, he starred in the film Once, for which his song “Falling Slowly” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Despite being in the music business for over twenty years (and longer if you count his teenage years he spent busking on the streets of Dublin), this new album is his first solo venture.
The overall sound of Hansard’s latest work is very mellow, quieter than both The Frames and The Swell Season (the latter of which was fairly mellow as well). As a result, the album feels very intimate and personal, and frankly quite beautiful. Perhaps my favourite song on the album is the second song, “Maybe Not Tonight”, with its haunting piano and slide guitar that oddly reminds me of Pink Floyd and perhaps some of David Gilmour’s solo work, but there are some great songs with more energy too, such as “Talking With The Wolves” and “Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting”.
If you’re a fan of his earlier work, definitely buy this album. If you’ve never heard of him or the bands he’s been in, what better time to find out if you like his style of music than right now? Check out the rather silly and fun video for “Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting” here:
The Lil’ Band O’ Gold Plays Fats by The Lil’ Band O’ Gold (and Very Special Guests)
When I was in the music store, I heard a song come on which clearly had the vocals of one of my favourite singers of all time, Robert Plant (famous for his solo albums, his Grammy-winning album with Alison Krauss, and of course, being the lead singer for Led Zeppelin). When I asked about what the album was, I discovered it was actually a tribute album to Fats Domino by Louisiana supergroup The Lil’ Band O’ Gold, on which Robert Plant sung two songs. This awesome blues tribute album also features guest appearances by Jimmy Barnes, Tim Rogers and more, as well as many songs performed by the core group, who are all talented musicians in their own rights. If you want a fun, foot stomping album, you need go no further than this. I bought it after hearing a single song, and I don’t regret it one bit.
Below is a live video of Robert Plant singing “I’ve Been Around” with The Lil’ Band O’ Gold. Just try and watch it without smiling:
Trouble’s Door by Ash Grunwald
Ash Grunwald is an Australian blues musician, who has built up a huge fanbase and reputation for awesome live shows in Australia and overseas over the past decade (something I can attest to, as well). With a unique bluesy voice, and the use of guitars, lapsteel slide guitars, harmonica, stomp box and more, it’s almost impossible not to want to get up and dance to his songs. This, his latest album, is no exception, and with songs such as “Shake That Thing”, and songs with a more dance and funk inspired twist such as “Longtime”, I suspect it’s part of his intention to make people want to move to his music.
Check out the first single off the album, “Longtime”, (featuring appearances in the film clip of other well-known Australian musicians) here:
Spirit Bird by Xavier Rudd
Xavier Rudd is another Aussie songwriter and musician, also with an impressive live reputation, and a multi-instrumentalist who plays several instruments simultaneously even on stage. His music drifts between folk music, blues music, and various other genres, and he commonly plays the yidaki (a didgeridoo), adding a very Australian flavour to the music, which often complements the lyrics with themes of Aboriginal rights and environmentalism. Spirit Bird, his latest offering, continues this same winning formula, and what I found really cool was the use of “bird samples” – recordings of bird sounds being used on some of the songs, often in the opening moments, adding a very natural feel to the music.
Check out the video for the song “Follow The Sun” here (and listen out for the bird sounds at the start):
What are your thoughts of the albums/artists/songs I’ve discussed here?
What music have you been listening to this last week?