rickie lee jones
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Not gonna lie to you: this is not the easiest album RLJ has made.
It takes the form of some strange, sometimes Beat-styled ruminations on the life and words of Christ and how they have been appropriated by Christianity.
In places it sounds like it has risen from the steam of the streets like a scene from Taxi Driver.
The openers work over...
The guy who wrote the liner notes for this long overdue album by Auckland singer-songwriter Hunter -- it was me actually -- says he can well remember the first time he saw her perform: it was over 15 years ago and she stood so far outside the self-proscribed parameters that most musicians put on themselves you couldn't help but be stunned....
Ms Jones has slipped so far down the totem pole of public attention in the past decade that her last album -- the ambitious Sermon on Exposition Boulevard of 2007 in which she meditated on Jesus and other things -- went straight past most.
Jones works her own territory: one part jazz, a nod to pop, sometimes soulful or almost spoken word, and...
One of Tom Waits’ most eerie yet surprisingly popular songs is What’s He
Building?, in which a curious neighbour – and the listener – speculates
about the odd nocturnal activities of the man next door: “He has no friends and
his lawn’s dying … what’s he building in there?”...
As a performer, Auckland singer-songwriter Hunter is one of the most assured
we've got. She shifts effortlessly from acoustic cafe to the festival circuit in
Canada, bars in Australia and thinks nothing of strapping on the Telecaster for
nuggety rock gigs.
You can take the girl out of the metal but ...
After her excellent Private...
Those who have followed Auckland singer-songwriter Hunter's long career will confirm that she has progressively moved from a kind of alt.indie outsider status with albums such as The Private Life of Clowns ('98) and Inside Outside ('03) which bristled with ideas from rock, spoken word, jazz-blues and alt.folk to something closer to mainstream...
Barney Hoskyn's recent useful but flawed Waits biography Lowside of the Road ended with the writer going to see Tom Waits in concert on this brief tour which was widely acclaimed as the best of 2008.
Waits hadn't been out live in some while (11 years since he'd last appeared in the UK) and as a result his cachet had grown and expectation was...
Some may remember it, that strange time when we were told that Tony Bennett was hip with the grunge crowd. It seemed unlikely (I doubted it) but it at least gave me the opportunity to interview him and he was, of course, positively charming as you might have expected.
Quite why anyone would prefer Tony Bennett over Frank Sinatra was always...
Here's a beautiful old rare one -- with surface noise included -- taken from that period when Waits was writing barfly short stories in song.
This outtake from the Heartattack and Vine album of 1980 only ever appeared on an Asylum compilation Bounced Checks ('81) and that record hasn't been released on CD.
So here is Waits from three...
This fine New Zealand singer-songwriter isn't one to hang around obviously. She's already played in the UK and the States, and of course in Australia where she attended the Australian Institute of Music for her vocal studies.
As a songwriter she has a light touch (song titles like Firefly, Ache For Beauty and Lost in You might tell you as...
With a new Tom Waits album Bad As Me due in late October (his first studio album in seven years), it is timely to prime the pump with a little known item From the Vaults.
In 2007 at a concert in New York's Avery Fisher Hal in the Lincoln Centre, Waits and the Kronos Quartet joined a line-up which included Anoushka Shankar, the Gyoto Tantric...
As many who've tried will attest, you
don't so much interview Tom Waits as ask a question . . . then hope
for the best. His reply might be an oddball witticism which is funny
but evasive, a yawning and uncomfortable silence, a strange but
insightful analogy which makes better sense later or a mumbled “I
dunno, you know”.
Although Tom Waits' dramatic change of musical direction after 1980, curated by his wife Kathleen Brennan who help him forge connections with the avant-garde, has lead to his music being much admired and respected, there were many who might still agree with critic Ian Penman who was bold enough to admit, "Personally I prefer mid-period...
At the end of the local edition of this exceptional album -- Tom Waits' first studio album in seven years -- there is a disconcerting litany of images entitled with seeming certainty After You Die, but which in fact asks the more pointed question, "what is it like after we die?"
Waits yowls through it like a man broken on a rack,...