By: Forrest Reda
Xavier Rudd sings about topics that seem simple at first but the concepts come from an educated stance. His new album, White Moth, gives the listener a glimpse at Rudd's experiences over the past few years traveling the globe with his family. While building a fan base with peak performances night after night, Rudd has been able to spread his message of Aboriginal land rights.
A native of Australia, the largest island in the world, Rudd is a good spokesperson for simple solutions to protect the planet. His prayer for the future, "Better People," includes shout-outs to active environmentalists coated with a vocal delivery reminiscent of Paul Simon. Instead of being angry, Rudd's delivers his message with melodies that go down easy with listeners, who just might be inspired to do something besides going to a concert to save the world.
Rudd is truly authentic and a good portion of his audience just might be environmental superheroes. His voice enchants like a shaman on "Come Let Go" as he describes the inevitable process of the tides, backed by the sound of the ocean and birds which cross-fade into a roots rock bassline as an organ wraps it all with sublime textures.
On "Footprints" a tribal rhythm gives way to a blistering didgeridoo blues-stomp rock, which in turn gives way to an Aboriginal chant. It's a great example of Rudd's live sound being infused with studio possibilities – the best of both worlds.
Rudd recorded the album live-in-the-studio in British Columbia as much as he could, infusing it with vitality that can't be faked. The multi-instrumentalist chose to do parts he plays simultaneously on stage the same way in the studio, thus recreating his live sound. The didgeridoo is used as an additional layer, and the Weissenborn slide guitars recall Ben Harper's funky side.
White Moth features appearances by members of the Aboriginal musical group Yothu Yindi, percussionist Dave Tolley, Panos Grames and First Nations Cree elder Kennitch.
JamBase | Down Under
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