Return of The Troubadours
Up until the pointless arrivals of James Blunt and his imitators, it's safe to say that we have had an amazing number of powerful, controversial, politicising and heart melting solo artists. To name a few: Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Tom Waits, Billy Bragg, Paul Weller and Jeff Buckley; they have all told us magnificent stories and poetry that has opened our minds up tonew views on the world, love and life. Now, the troubadours, the people who are "singing for their supper" (Sunday Times)have returned after the short-lived chart monster glory of someone who served in Iraq and has no words for it but, "You're beautiful.(x10)".
I wouldn't say Dylan is anything special these days, with his knackered voice and zero movement at gigs accept for the tapping of a foot; I am actually talking about the new talent that has emerged, who do their influences great justice and are most likely going to make a big impact on 2007.
A few months ago, in the cramped, crowded Rough Trade record store, Jack Penate played his pre-single release gig on top of the counter, with just his guitar and amp. To do that is much to the style of Bragg or Buckley and having seen him with his band twice before, I knew that this was Penate at his best. Furthermore, hearing this man speak on Xfm the week before, about his inspirations and songs in full detail brought out a lot of my respect.
Single: Second Minute Or Hour, out now
Also listen to: Got My Favourite
Jamie T's Bragg inspired, bass guitar folk fused with indie/alternative hip-hop and quirky little synthesizers has brought up an exhilarating new kind of party music.
Single: Calm Down Dearest, Jan 15th
Album: Panic Prevention, Jan 29th
Also listen to: Back In The Game
Scott Matthews can dangerously come across as someone with the same ambitions as Blunt, as his name isn't vaguely peculiar or interesting and his album, Passing Stranger, has his face on the front. Contrary to this, the music is better. The album is a vibrant blend of soft acoustic sensations, vast adventures of raga, reminiscent of Robert Plant's (Led Zeppelin) explorations into Eastern music and slide guitars that keep you on your tip-toes.
Album: Passing Stranger
Listen to: Dream Song and Sweet Scented Figure
A small addition to this list would be Jonny Brown Shoes. Bragg was described as a 'one man Clash'. This guy could be a one man Libertines and could very well join the musicians above some day.
Words: Will Slater
Are we back in the age of the Troubadour?
Dylan, Bragg, Cohen, Drake - what do they mean to you?
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