Damn it, Nick Hart. Here’s me thinking I’ve heard the best albums of the year already, and then you sneak into my inbox and threaten to blow the competition away. Give us fair warning next time, would you? Spread your name far and wide – people will listen! – and approach your musical career with less humility. You have been told.
Tag: album reviews
The life of a folk musician in 2017 is something of a nomadic ritual. In search of audiences, you spend huge amounts of time traversing A-roads, B-roads, deserted night motorways lit in murky orange and country lanes lit by nothing at all. It’s time spent thinking, working things out, meandering down half forgotten memory lanes, wondering how many times you’ve known this road before or whether it’s a new one that just looks like all the rest of them. Many musicians find inspiration in the journey – others are driven round and round the bend.
Every folk fingerpicking guitarist longs to make a raw, naked, warts-and-all album at some point in their career – an album of single takes with zero overdubs that showcases their extraordinary talents, while at the same time worming their way into their listeners’ affections enough to entice them back again and again for the songs as much as the wizardry. It’s a tall order; very few manage it, and yet here comes young Jack Rutter with his debut solo collection, Hills, ticking nearly all of the boxes at the first attempt. In fact, the only box he seems to have missed is ‘warts-and-all’, simply because there don’t seem to be any warts. As a 40-year-old fingerpicker myself, I have to say that this album is frustratingly good.
There’s a sense among reviewers of Big Machine, Eliza Carthy’s new album on Topic Records, that this collection marks the artist’s coming of age moment. I’m not sure how she must feel about that herself. I imagine she’s lost count of the number of times people have said that of her latest albums over the years. From Anglicana through Dreams of Breathing Underwater and ever-onward, Eliza Carthy must’ve come of age more times than her years naturally allow.