Sunday, 18 September 2011

Review: Calum MacDonald

Calum MacDonald - Songs From The Grove (Outer Blue Records)
Australian singer-songwriter Calum MacDonald is an assured lyricist with the confidence to write about the things he cares about, whether it’s love and regret, or social matters. He does so in a gentle, unhurried style that draws listeners into his tales. On his website he cites mainly contemporary influences such as Bonnie Prince Billy, Bill Callaghan and Ron Sexsmith, but for me, his words, his poetry (the album is bookended by two spoken word pieces) and very occasionally his voice, all bring Leonard Cohen’s early work to mind.

I’m sure it’s a comparison MacDonald wont object to, especially as “Songs From The Grove” is hardly in thrall to any single stimulus and his songs stand up to proper scrutiny. My favourites, “Shaky 48” with its driving folk rhythm and lyrical excursions, the ‘70s West Coast affectation of “Earth” and the borrowed Dylan(isms) of “Feel Like Another Cup Of Coffee” all indicate a singer-songwriter slightly out of time, but that neither detracts from the quality of his verses or listener satisfaction. Have a listen if you get the chance.
Rob F.

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