Graham Reid | | 1 min read
English music magpie Molinari's previous two albums alerted you to a folk-driven singer-songwriter who was unashamed of wearing influences but bringing a neat twist to them: his Walking off the Map in '06 cheerfully plundered Hank Williams and pre-66 Bob Dylan (and delivered a beautiful new standard in Indescribably Blue); his follow-up A Virtual Landscape added Sam Cooke soul, Lonnie Donegan skiffle and early Stones into the enjoyable mix.
This time out – under a title which references Woody Guthrie – he takes himself to Nashville and, improbably, kicks off with a sound ripped straight from the pages of the Beatles Please Please Me debut album.
You can't help but smile at Molinari's nerve, nor how he doesn't worry about originality in his song titles: that Beatles track is Streetcar Named Desire and later when he gets Elvis' Jordanaires in for the gloomy mid-paced rocker it is Heartbreak Avenue.
Yet Molinari – whose voice is increasing in power, range and expression with every album – is much more the sum of many influences: over pedal steel on To be Close to Your Heart's Desire he casts a lovely late 50s/Roy Orbison/Buddy Holly ballad; Willow Weep For Me is as fine a sloppy country song Dylan never recorded in about '69; the lovely ballad Minus Me sounds like a missing track from Nashville Skyline; he digs out a little Elvis-era rockabilly and electric blues in places (Little Less Loneliness, New York City) . . .
Accusations of originality may never be thrown at Molinari, but he again brings as much of himself to these styles – and at his most soulful is someone deserving to be heard in his own right.