Xavier Rudd - Spirit Bird
I've been listening to Xavier Rudd for a few years now and don't quite get the rabid following he gets. He is Australian and even here in Canada, anyone who has seen him live worships him. I was given Spirit Bird to review earlier this year and listened to it the first time and wasn't really sure what to think. The album opens up with a didgeridoo wank-fest ("Lioness Eye") that is actually quite fun, except for the cawing birds and other stupid samples. Then we get into what I think Xavier does best, his folk side of things with "Comfortable In My Skin" which really does rival something in Bob Dylan's heyday. Really, it's probably more liken to Ben Harper. This song is the best of the set. On the title track we get more of those stupid bird noises mixed with a bit of aboriginal chanting, which on its own is quite intoxicating. Rudd's voice sounds quite pleasant here as well. "Follow The Sun" is my favorite of the set. I'm actually trying to learn this on the guitar. "Butterfly" reminds me of something Paul Simon would have cut for Graceland. Xavier does have a nice voice and obviously a very talented musician. Apparently he does play most of the instruments on his albums, making a live show very interesting.
Now my biggest complaint with Spirit Bird is all the damn birds! I don't need to hear all the birds chirping and the forest sounds in amongst the otherwise brilliant worldbeat music. Take these out and I would easily give this another full star. But they really turn this world music into something more along the lines of New Age. Sad but true. I would like to see Xavier Rudd in a live setting. I guess next time he rolls through Calgary I'm going.
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