Jo Little - Till The Blue Skies Come (Midnight Kitchen Records)
With online media, social networking and the rising popularity of music downloads, things have definitely got easier for artists who don’t live and work in North America or Europe. Jo Little, a New Zealander, is a case in point. The Dunedin native has her music for sale in most of the usual places, and wherever we are, we can hear her songs via the wizardry of Facebook and Bandcamp. Of course, the negative is a massively overcrowded marketplace, but no one can seriously argue that choice is a bad thing, and while we’re getting the chance to hear artists of Little’s quality, surely it’s a no-brainer.
“Till The Blue Skies Come” is her third release and continues her exploration of country-folk and acoustic soul. Arrangements are kept sparse and quite stripped back, allowing her captivating voice and emotionally resonant songs centre stage. Highlights come thick and fast. The marching guitar of “Sleepwalkers” clashes perfectly with Little’s words, and “Five of Swords” brings to mind the acoustic grunge of Kristin Hersh. “Into the Darkness” repeats the process to even greater effect and the title track is faultless and engaging folk-pop, which seems to have roots that stretch back to the ‘60s and ‘70s. The album ends with the utterly charming, though all too short “Leave This Town”. Fans of Gillian Welch and Iris DeMent would do well to take note, and listen without too much delay.