In April last year I received Blair's album "Gilded" to review. Despite being early in the year I wrote that it was the best album I had reviewed up to that point in 2017. By the end of the year and having reviewed dozens more, I still rated it in my top 3 albums for the year. I was therefore expecting great things from this new album and I was not disappointed. This young man just gets better with each passing year.
Blair himself states that he believes this album is his best to date and I for one will not argue with that. His voice still has that crystal clear yet soulful melancholic quality and his guitar playing is both skilled and imaginative. His songwriting belies his age with his shrewd observations of life, politics and love. There is humour in this album too in the delightful "Sweet On You" which includes the line "If you don't like Ry Cooder how could I ever be sweet on you?" Luckily for me I do like Ry Cooder and the song also includes a subtle little tribute to Blair's Mother.
Blair cleverly bridges the gap between folk and pop which was recognised in 2013 when he won the Horizon Award at the BBC Folk Awards. I saw him in concert not long after that and could fully understand the accolades being heaped upon him. He is equally at home with both slow numbers and those that are accompanied with a bit of a beat. When played acoustically, his guitar almost sings and the harmonies and vocals in "Nothing Good" are simply sublime. Possibly my favourite track on the album.
Coming from a musical family he is a young artist that really loves what he is doing. He states quite honestly about his album "Commercial success and money have never been my prime motivation but, if it goes platinum I really won't mind."
The Australian music scene has recently benefitted from a tour by Blair which according to all reports went down a storm. The antipodeans will have loved his open and approachable style both as a musician and a person.
To date I have seen Blair twice in concert and got three of his albums so you might call me a fan! This latest album is undoubtedly the best thing he has done and he recently went on a UK tour to promote it. He is also appearing at a number of festivals later this year so if you have not seen him yet, please rectify this at your first opportunity. He is a musician for both the present and the future. An immense talent!!!
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