loudon wainwright

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Richard Thompson: Sweet Warrior (Southbound)

Richard Thompson: Sweet Warrior (Southbound)

At the time of Richard Thompson's excellent Rumour and Sigh album in '97 I decided I'd had enough of hearing how he was a cult figure whose albums never sold: so I did an interview with him (he had a reputation for being earnest but he was chatty on the phone and when I met him in London a few years later he was very chipper) and I ran the story...

Nick Lowe; At My Age (Proper) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Nick Lowe; At My Age (Proper) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

To be honest, I consider Nick Lowe's '98 album Dig My Mood so outstanding that anything he does subsequently will pale in the comparison. By the time of that album, the former English pub-rocker in the post-punk era and friend of Elvis Costello had taken a considerable career turn and was now a gorgeous country-soul singer whose songwriting...

Rufus Wainwright; Release the Stars (Geffen) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Rufus Wainwright; Release the Stars (Geffen) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

As with Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, alt.country acts and Bjork, Rufus Wainwright is one of those artists who are only tangentially part of what we might call "rock culture". As with the above, his albums get reviewed in rock magazines and newspaper columns -- but he also exists outside of the parameters: he famously recreated Judy...

Teddy Thompson: Up Front and Down Low ((Verve)

Teddy Thompson: Up Front and Down Low ((Verve)

The son of Richard is now on his third album but for this quietly exceptional album he takes a left-turn from his originals and goes back to the music he grew up with: American country which he grew up listening to at his dad's house. This sensitive collection of classics and little-known covers (and one striking original, Down Low) proves...

Robbie Fulks: Revenge! (Yep Roc) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Robbie Fulks: Revenge! (Yep Roc) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The witty and iconoclastic Fulks has a marvellous distain for convention, the country music establishment (he wrote Fuck This Town about Nashville), and record sales. He also unleashed the sometimes terrific but scattergun Georgia Hard two years ago on which he released his inner George Jones to great effect -- but also included his component...

Joe Henry; Civilians (Anti/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Joe Henry; Civilians (Anti/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

With a small band, and guests Bill Frisell (on guitar) and Van Dyke Parks (piano), the much ignored Henry continues his singular path which owes a little to a less grumbly Tom Waits but remains properly in the singer-songwriter tradition with nods to folk and the blues. Here are classically-framed ballads (You Can't Fail Me Now) and songs...

Linda Thompson; Versatile Heart (Decca) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Linda Thompson; Versatile Heart (Decca) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Few would make the mistake of coming to Anglo-folk legend Thompson for their jollies -- but even the well-prepared might gulp at the melacholy mood in which this is suffused. While the country twangin' foot-tapper Do Your Best For Rock'n Roll includes the promising line "take me to a bar" it ends with "and leave me there to...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008:  Loudon Wainwright: Strange Weirdos (Universal)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Loudon Wainwright: Strange Weirdos (Universal)

Longtime cynic, straight-shooter and occasionally misanthropic singer-songwriter Wainwright shows no sign of losing his touch even though he is now in his 60s. His subjects will always provide plenty of material: they are life in general, himself, his family, and sometimes astute socio-political observation. He is a sensitive...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Teddy Thompson: A Piece of What You Need (Verve)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Teddy Thompson: A Piece of What You Need (Verve)

This son of Richard and Linda keeps good company: among his friends and fellow travellers are the Wainwrights (Rufus, Martha, and their father Loudon), guitarist Marc Ribot, the Band's Garth Hudson and other hip congnoscenti.His last album Upfront and Down Low was mostly a country covers outing. And despite possessing the same kind of effete...

Rodney Crowell: Sex and Gasoline (Shock)

Rodney Crowell: Sex and Gasoline (Shock)

Crowell's 2001 album The Houston Kid -- hard-won narratives in passingly autobiographical songs - hinted that he was getting a late-career second wind after some pretty indifferent albums in the late 80s/90s. This album confirms that, after The Outside of 2005, his songwriting and story-telling skills certainly haven't deserted him and in...

Joe Henry: Blood From Stars (Anti)

Joe Henry: Blood From Stars (Anti)

There is something pointless and not a little depressing writing about another fine Joe Henry album: the 18 people who love his work probably already know of the album, and as for the rest . . . ? I guess Henry is always destined to remain something of a private passion, but it is one that Elsewhere would (again) like to share. His last...

Mose Allison: The Way of the World (Anti)

Mose Allison: The Way of the World (Anti)

Mose Allison is one of those slightly obscure figures whose name is often heard in interviews with the likes of Van Morrison and Elvis Costello -- and he was also the subject of a song by the Pixies. Way back he also wrote Young Man Blues (covered famously by the Who) and Parchman Farm (covered notoriously by Blue Cheer), and the Clash did a...

The Coosters: Worn Out Libertines (Coosters)

The Coosters: Worn Out Libertines (Coosters)

First some background to this one. As you might guess Elsewhere gets music and requests for reviews from many and various places -- but this was a first from Toledo, Ohio. When guitarist/singer Steven J Athanas sent an e-mail asking if I would be interested in their album he seemed smart and witty - and when I replied along the lines of...

ELVIS COSTELLO: SPECTACLE, SEASON ONE (Ovation/Southbound DVD set)

ELVIS COSTELLO: SPECTACLE, SEASON ONE (Ovation/Southbound DVD set)

Because television talk shows depend largely on the quality of the guests, Rove (the programme, not the man) will always be more interesting than any local production. When it comes to visiting artists and celebrities, Australia gets more passing trade. Imagine then the greater talent available in New York if you set up a music/talk...

Rufus Wainwright: All Days Are Nights; Songs for Lulu (Decca)

Rufus Wainwright: All Days Are Nights; Songs for Lulu (Decca)

It's perhaps enough to note that this is Art Music in which Wainwright sings largely chorus-free, sweeping lyrics over the top of grandiose and often grandiloquent solo piano and addresses the death of his mother Kate (his greatest supporter and critics, he says) and dedicates it to his sister Martha, "the bright lady". This is...

THE GRATEFUL DEAD: The Dead rise again

THE GRATEFUL DEAD: The Dead rise again

There are some pretty odd tribute albums out there lately - and they seem to be getting stranger by the day. A couple of years ago it was all sensible kind of stuff, artists getting together to play Byrds songs or salute Neil Young. That’s cool. These days, however, we are getting albums like the Manson Family Sings the Songs...

Teddy Thompson: Bella (Verve)

Teddy Thompson: Bella (Verve)

This 35-year old son of famed British folk-rockers Richard and Linda follows his own path. He took his powerful, sensitive voice to excellent originals on his second album Separate Ways in 05, followed it up with an album of country covers Upfront and Down Low (which boasted the stunning sole original in Down Low) then unveiled the...

Nick Lowe: Dig My Mood (1998)

Nick Lowe: Dig My Mood (1998)

It is coming up close to two decades since Nick Lowe -- once a laddish and witty figure in British rock in the immediate post-punk days -- decided to take the long view on his career and reposition himself. As he told Elsewhere late last year, “Back when I first got noticed in the Seventies it was for being rather irreverent and...

Various: Rogue's Gallery (Anti/Shock)

Various: Rogue's Gallery (Anti/Shock)

Believe it or not, when I was a kid my dad -- who had spent time at sea and was never happier than when on a ship -- not only played my Beatles and his Louis Armstrong albums with equal enjoyment, but would often bang on a Burl Ives album of sea shanties. My younger sister and I grew up to the sound of him singing, "My father was the...

Josh Ritter; The Animal Years (V2/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Josh Ritter; The Animal Years (V2/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

From Moscow -- the one in Idaho -- Ritter has been championed by New York mainstream and American indie press for his literate and passionate singer-songwriter style, and here that is combined with gripping and memorable songs with lyrical and melodic hooks which grab like a gaff. Latterly he's been wooing them in Ireland. The album is...

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