Shane Nicholson: Familiar Ghosts (Liberation)

 |   |  <1 min read

Shane Nicholson: You and Your Enemy
Shane Nicholson: Familiar Ghosts (Liberation)

Anyone who heard the exceptional alt.country Rattlin' Bones album by Australians Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson of last year (one of the Best of Elsewhere 2008 albums) -- or better still caught them in concert -- will need no second invitation to this, Nicholson's third solo album.

A number of these often brooding and always literate songs will be familiar from the concert, but here is evidence that Nicholson has a wide palette of lyrical colours, and he can as effortlessly shift from a song about a lover now living in Barcelona to a metaphorical piece entitled God & Elvis about lost souls in America.

Nicholson -- who has a dry wit and can frame a Dylanesque twist in a phrase -- possesses a voice of almost ineffable sadness in places and when married to hard-edged images ("first-time killer with a blood red hand, walked away whistling to a Dixie band") it can be quite unnerving but always compelling.

That voice can also engender sympathy for his subjects ("just pray for the light on her soul, in a summer dress and the winter cold") and with weeping steel guitar or deft finger-picking, banjo and lonesome harmonica (all played by himself) this is an emotionally affecting album.

There are musical references to an older tradition and also to Dylan and Springsteen (in the lyrical approach) but Nicholson -- with or without Chambers -- is a special talent.

 

 

 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Sinead O'Connor: I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss (Nettwerk/Southbound)

Sinead O'Connor: I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss (Nettwerk/Southbound)

Too often in popular culture, controversy and craziness are substitutes for, or get in the way of us seeing, real talent. O'Connor has courted her share of both and that often blurred the focus... > Read more

Black Star Riders: All Hell Breaks Loose (Nuclear Blast/Southbound)

Black Star Riders: All Hell Breaks Loose (Nuclear Blast/Southbound)

Following Phil Lynott's death in 86 – three years after quitting the band he founded -- Thin Lizzy reformed and since then there has been an occasional, revolving-door membership band... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE RELIGION OF RUGBY (2006): Ballet, with a point

THE RELIGION OF RUGBY (2006): Ballet, with a point

The dinner party in a smart Auckland suburb in 2006 was thick with well-travelled intelligence: journalists, writers, academics, IT innovators and taste-makers from television and student radio.... > Read more

Keith's Christmas Tequila Cookies

Keith's Christmas Tequila Cookies

Keith offers this marvellous recipe which I can unequivocally recommend. His injunction that you should use only the best tequila is very important however -- as you will see if you read on.... > Read more