Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Belly warming

Two ostensibly very different recent releases take traditional music forms and give them a modern twist, resulting in both cases in something wondrous.

Seth Lakeman has admirably resisted any attempt to divert him from the template he established on his Mercury Prize nominated second album Kitty Jay. New long-player Freedom Fields once again features traditional English folk instrumentation and lyrical content suffused with a modern indie/dance oriented attitude. And while there's nothing here with quite the impact of the title track of Kitty Jay, this is nevertheless an awesome album.

The Black Keys' mini album Chulahoma is not due for release until 1 May, but advance copies appeared online this week. The EP features covers of tracks by blues legend Junior Kimbrough, and its name is taken from Junior's home town. Their earlier albums never quite managed to win me over, but this is a different story. They tap into the spirit of the old bluesmen, but electrified in a way that is reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan at his best. Simply put, it is a work of genius.

Both albums give you something only the very best roots music can provide - a warm glow in the belly.

Seth Lakeman - Setting of the Sun [mp3]
Seth Lakeman - Riflemen of War [mp3]
The Black Keys - Have Mercy on Me [mp3]
The Black Keys - Meet Me in the City [mp3]

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