First off, thanks to Tati again for the introduction to Michael… His music is beautiful. And he is opening for Alabama Shakes in LA on Aug. 14th!!! I cannot wait for that show!
I have written about Michael’s EPs before, but now that his full length debut is here, away we go!
Second, today has to be for the great Andy Griffith. It is odd the kinship I can feel with someone I had never met, but from all accounts and certainly from his TV work, Andy seemed like a class act filled with kindness and grace. 86 is too young… it is too soon. It just is.
So Andy this is for you.
Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
First off, go to AllMusic, where you can read more about him, check out some videos and listen. Such a great site.
Michael’s music moves in several spaces… But each song is glorious and really its own thing.
The opener “Tell Me A Tale” starts off like a Van Morrison track and then the horns bring it closer to a Fela Kuti number. It does not move too far into the Afrobeat, it just floats beautifully in this sweet R&B space. So soulful. There is nothing as close to Otis Redding as there is on the I’m Getting Ready EP and the song “I Need You By My Side” but my oh my… I am in love with this guy!
“I’m Getting Ready” is a phenomenal tune… A little Richie Havens… a little Keb Mo… and even some Paul Simon Graceland in the harmonies… I could listen to this song all day long.
I could listen to this whole record over and over again!
This is one of those albums that will get you by on a rainy day, a lazy day, a happy day, a sad day… it is ubiquitous in the best sense of that word.
“Rest” and “Home Again” seem like the perfect tracks for today… That is all we wish for those departed… to rest and find their way home again. We know they will always reside in our hearts, for that is how and where we keep them alive… where we hold their memories dear. While we do not know exactly what happens after the lights fade, we hope the next stop is a better place, quiet, peaceful and blissfully happy.
I think “Worry Walks Beside Me” is something we can all relate to… but the lesson is to live every day as if it is your last… love, smile and find happiness wherever you can. Like Michael says “Any Day Will Do Fine”.
On a complete tangent, I highly recommend the documentary currently on HBO, called Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present. (I would give you a link, but it appears to not be working…) I started in the middle late last night and could not stop watching. It was absolutely riveting and moved me so much… literally to tears and surprisingly so… It is remarkable and will make you fall in love with art and the power of the artist all over… It is inspiring on so many levels, but also made me miss NYC terribly.
AllMusic says: “With his acoustic blues-folk sound and timeless soulful voice, singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka has been favorably compared with the likes of Curtis Mayfield, Terry Callier, and Van Morrison. Born in Muswell Hill, London in 1987, to Ugandan parents who had fled Idi Amin’s regime in the ’70s, he initially developed a love of rock music, in particular Radiohead and Nirvana, performing in various covers bands and temporarily studying jazz at the Royal Academy of Music and pop music at Westminster University, until an outtake recording of Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” inspired him to take a more stripped-back direction. After performing as a session musician for former Bill Withers drummer James Gadson and Tinie Tempah producer Labrinth, he began performing across the capital’s live circuit, where he was discovered by the Bees’ Paul Butler, who invited him to record material at his Isle of Wight studio. After signing to Mumford & Sons’ Communion label in 2011, he released two EPs, Tell Me a Tale and I’m Getting Ready, before supporting Adele on her U.K. tour and finishing third behind Emeli Sandé and Maverick Sabre on the Brits Critics Choice short list. A year later, he followed in the footsteps of Jessie J, Florence + the Machine, and Ellie Goulding when he was announced as the winner of the prestigious BBC Sound of 2012 poll and shortly thereafter released his debut single and album, both titled Home Again.”