Another laid back (début) album for today’s musical recommendation. Namely, Home Again by Michael Kiwanuka. A British soul musician and singer-songwriter (of Ugandan descent); who at only 24 years of age, has an amazingly mature and laid back kinda vibe.
Guess I’m in another one of my mellow moods again to day; ‘cos this album’s on repeat and it hits the spot quite nicely. (I’ve figured out that my current mellow moments actually coincide with an after-gym lack of energy. Guess there’s a power-nap somewhere, with my name on it ;o)
Kiwanuka apparently spent some time as a session guitarist, prior to donning the mantle of solo artist. He also supported Adele on her 2011 tour apparently. (Which means that I now have another reason for regretting that I missed out on that particular live experience).
I’ve no clue who Kiwanuka’s own musical influences might be, but this album kinda had a Van Morrison feel for me. That struck me as soon as the opening track (‘Tell me a Tale’) kicked in and felt even more apparent with the 3rd track (‘I’ll Get Along‘). Not that the voices are comparable at all; more the way the tempo and musical arrangements drew my attention.
The guitar work on the album is actually fairly understated, but when it does step out front on the folksy ‘Home Again’, Kiwanuka’s delivery kinda reminded me of Jack Johnson. Tempo, voice inflection and finger-picking acoustic style. (Sorry bud, my musical melon always clutches for a frame of reference, so I can keep my balance).
This is such a thoughtfully constructed album, that I’m left wondering how much of the musical arrangement was driven by Kiwanuka himself and how much comes from the session musicians themselves? I mean, when you compose these things, you must have a general arrangement in mind…right?
Either way I love the way this album conjures up so many comparisons and so much imagery in my mind. The track ‘Bones’ for example prompted memories of Toy Story’s Buzz’n’Woody and a ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ montage. (I sh1t you not). The finger-picking and snare on ‘Always Waiting’ conjured up the rhythm of a gentle train ride in the countryside. (Not as pronounced as the trademark bum-chick of early Johnny Cash, but it’s there none-the-less. At least in my synapses ;o)
Finally, ‘Worry Walks Beside Me’ somehow brought Bob Marley to mind. Don’t ask why, ‘cos I’m buggered if I could explain it? (I ain’t been toking…honest). There’s no reggae feel to the track; the slow tempo’s mostly in keeping with the rest of the album. Perhaps it was the expression/delay in the vocals and the shining thru’ of an unfamiliar accent? Dunno.
Happily the accent, such as it is, is probably a result of his Ugandan parentage, rather than a result of growing up in Muswell Hill, North London. A cockney twang would’ve definitely put a kink in the whole groove of this musical masterpiece. Kinda strange that I even hear an accent in his singing tho’, ‘cos I’ve seen a clip of the dude being interviewed and he sounds very well spoken, but pretty nondescript? (Kinda like Lisa Stansfield in reverse).
Anyway, enough of me blabbing on. I highly recommend you go check it out. In the mean time here’s a taster to keep you going…