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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Album Review - J. Tillman, Singing Ax

 Singing Ax

Followers will know that I have been just nuts about the last few J. Tillman records (2 of them last year).  Thus, it was with great excitement that I heard he is putting out another on already.  It is available now on Western Vinyl - for sale on iTunes, amazon, emusic, etc . . .

Here are my thoughts.  I divide Tillman's discography into 2 phases.  Tillman's first 3 LPs, I Will Return, Long May you Run and Cancer and Delirium were sparsely beautiful, but quite lo-fi.  For many people, the scratch of low quality recordings won't allow them to really appreciate the great songs that are hiding underneath on those records.  The most recent 3 LPs, Minor Works, Vacilando Territory Blues and Year in the Kingdom, brought both better production value AND a much richer sound with increased instrumentation.  Singing Ax is a hybrid of these two phases.

Instrumentation is SPARSE.  Almost nothing there.  In this regard, it is much like his first releases.  Production value, however, is much improved - like his more recent releases.  So, if you like "Dry" folk with great songwriting and lyrics, this will be a great record for you.  I will likely gravitate back towards the LPs with fuller instrumentation, but Tillman hasn't lost me here.  I am still fully in the fan camp.

And, as long as he keeps on cranking out this high volume of records - I will definitely stay a fan.  There is something to be said for a guy that writes songs, and just records and releases them - instead of waiting to release every 2-3 years.  I know some bands are constricted by record companies on how often they release so its not their fault . . . but I really commend Tillman on this.

Make music, make it often.

Sample songs

J. Tillman - Diamondback [mp3]
J. Tillman - Three Sisters [mp3]

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