sat 27/11/2021

singer-songwriters

Grace Petrie, Summerhall, Edinburgh review - songs of solidarity

“How to explain Theresa May?” Grace Petrie muses from the Summerhall stage as she introduces decade-old opener “Farewell To Welfare”. “Well, in 2010, she was as bad as we thought it was going to get.”That is, on the face of it, the problem with...

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Cécile McLorin Salvant, EFG London Jazz Festival review - strength, vulnerability and humour

A fascinating song list that juxtaposed originals with musical theatre, pop songs, Brazilian music and more. An inventive, listening band – take a bow Glenn Zaleski (piano), Alexa Tarantino (flute), Marvin Sewell (guitar), Yasushi Nakamura (bass)...

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Jazz Voice, EFG London Jazz Festival review - from intimate delicacy to stunning virtuosity

A celebration of that most extraordinary instrument, the human voice, this year’s edition of Jazz Voice – which gladly welcomed back a live audience and a full-strength EFG London Jazz Festival Orchestra – ranged from music of intimate delicacy to...

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Album: Rod Stewart - The Tears of Hercules

Amid the spume of insults at the close of the song “The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle” by Malcolm McLaren’s Rotten-less, end-game version of the Sex Pistols, Rod Stewart is a prime target. Sandwiched between abuse for David Bowie and Elton John, Rod is...

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Album: Ed Sheeran - =

It’s hard to navigate the gap between Ed Sheeran’s ordinary songs and the rarefied air of his career’s stellar orbit, which he now breathes with Adele and Chris Martin - the rump aristos of a once ruling rock culture. The image of him as a modern...

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Album: Billy Bragg - The Million Things That Never Happened

Like a more genuinely earthed Springsteen, Billy Bragg’s middle-aged, Dorset years have offered somewhat self-conscious wisdom and awareness of his singer-songwriter status. He’s grown up and into himself, diligently expanding both his craft and...

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Album: Tori Amos - Ocean to Ocean, review

A “sonic photograph” is how Tori Amos describes her sixteenth album, recorded at her home in Cornwall during the spring and summer of Britain’s third lockdown, when, travel, her usual mode of coping with “troubling things”, was not an option. Living...

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Album: Lana Del Rey - Blue Banisters

Lana Del Rey’s eighth album would tell her story “and pretty much nothing else”, she teased, as her planned, near instant follow-up to Chemtrails Over the Country Club slipped back from spring to autumn. Del Rey has often claimed autobiography at...

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Album: Elton John - The Lockdown Sessions

I always thought those celebrity duets albums, recorded across the miles – or sometimes with someone who had long since passed to the great arena in the sky – were generally fraudulent, always cheesy and sometimes mawkish. Now Covid and 18 months of...

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Rufus Wainwright, London Palladium review - superb musicianship and a warm welcome

Rufus Wainwright believes opera to be “the greatest art form that has ever existed on the planet” and of course he’s written an opera himself – Prima Donna, which has been described as “the work of a man who loves opera and the sensations it...

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Album: Finneas - Optimist

This record is a heck of a metatextual experience to listen to. In releasing his debut album, 24 year old Finneas O’Connell is attempting to step out of the shadow of one of the biggest pop cultural behemoths of our time – his own sister,...

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Album: James Blake - Friends That Break Your Heart

There I was, gleefully prepared to give this a good kick-in but, annoyingly, it’s defied my expectations. I’ve come to associate James Blake’s singing with the worst excesses of I’m-so-vulnerable-me, post-Jeff Buckley, falsetto-voice-breaking, and...

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