Xavier Rudd

Australian native Xavier Rudd is a musical madman; the ambidextrous multi-instrumentalist is proficient at guitar, percussion, and didgeridoo, interlacing them into a sharp, dynamic echo of today's funky folksters. Most interesting is that he plays them simultaneously. Solace is one man's journey into sonic solitude and an aural testament to the return home. He pays tribute to the indigenous populace of his homeland, but he also has citizenship in Canada. This may be where he picked up a heavy influence of Ben Harper and Jack Johnson (with whom he's toured); in fact, the Weissenborn slide guitar Harper helped make famous sounds excellent in Rudd's trustworthy hands. Layering the low end with diverse percussion, including the African djembe and stomp boxes, the highlight of Solace is Rudd's soulful voice. The Paul Simon Graceland-inspired "Journey Songs" (he readily admits the influence) is but one highlight of his poetic abilities. Even when mimicking the master -- covering Nesta's "No Woman No Cry" -- Rudd succeeds, a sure sign he's in touch with something much greater than one man.

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