Can’t Cut You Loose (Skinnie dub)

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He’s a man of few words who prefers a simple approach. His debut EP, My Heart Beats On The Moon (REMusic Records, 2008), a collection of five songs, is now followed by yet another mini-album of only seven compositions. Once again, Dutch singer-songwriter Skinnie makes sure he is in the best of company, this time relying on two outstanding and seasoned musicians—guitarist Martijn van Agt (Anouk, Ilse DeLange, Sarah Bettens), and multi-instrumentalist/producer Michel van Schie (Candy Dulfer, Anouk, Soulvation)—who definitely elevate Skinnie’s songs onto a higher plane.

Skinnie’s reflective lyrics about love, loss, generosity, resignation, truth, dreams, desire and playful contemplation are woven into a setting of lush musical moods leaning towards pop, country, blues and jazz in an intelligent design. The subtle tones of van Agt’s pedal steel and slide guitar characterize a sense for detail and finesse that all three musicians have in common. The disc starts and ends with “Sailing,” in a single edit and album version. It’s a catchy tune, with a likewise attractive and perhaps recognizable imagery provided by lyrics about escaping reality for a while, until a neighbor at the door complains about the trash in the garden. Skinnie delivers his songs in a warm and genuine manner with his deep and sometimes husky voice.

The title track has a few surprises, and showcases van Agt’s skills on guitar with distinctive flavors and hints reminiscent of the sound that makes the music of Steely Dan appreciated in wider musical circles. It’s an approach and arrangement that also returns in “No Little Girl, No More.” “Can’t Cut You Loose” stands out; a beautiful sensitive ballad about accepting life and relationships the way they are, after questioning their values and virtues.

It’s a very pleasant album that, like its predecessor, asks for more. If there has to be critique, then it would serve to point out some flaws in the English lyrics. A few mistakes that can easily be forgiven, as these sailing and flying Dutchmen do understand the craft of musicianship to the max. Music, after all, is a universal language; a language that Skinnie and company know how to speak very well.

source: All About Jazz

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Storm in a teacup

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On the way home yesterday, i could see the storm bursting out in a promising ouverture.
Trees were tested by the wind, old branches and leaves floated freely in the sky or covered the road.
The force of nature, as a fascinating presence.
Realizing we may count our blessings, for it is not as destructive here as it can be elsewhere on the planet…

| Music: Satellites (demo) by Rickie Lee Jones | The Duchess of Coolsville Anthology 2005 | http://www.rickieleejones.com |
(used with permission of RLJ)

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In the nick of time

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Or better yet, I nicked some time off a good night’s sleep last night. Had to go out for work (a book about the Haspengouw region in Belgium) in the evening and thought I was drinking decaf at this wonderful location, a medieval farmstead that has been beautifully restored by its owners. Or maybe I was just inspired by the peace and quiet, good entrepreneurship and genuine Flemish hospitality. On my way home I decided to let the cellphone camera roll and film the journey back and after having arrived at my destination, I switched on the computer and spent hours watching clips in YouTube and listening to music. The wee hours, as they say. I could hear the real early birds sharpen their toncils and exercise their vocal chords. If they have any.

There’s a lot to be thankful for. Honest to Jove. Cherries in the garden. One single tree feeding six households in the hood. Neighbours exchanging homegrown salad for a bowl of fresh handpicked cherries. The simple stuff can be so magnificent. It’s what draws one back to the essence of life, perhaps. Despite the whole lot of ugly that surrounds us. And music. Music is magic. Always. It was a trip down the 80s lane yesterday, most of the time. It started at a friend’s Facebook page with Robert Palmer. Every Kind Of People. And soon it drifted on to Thomas Dolby and an incredible version of The Flat Earth. From there, it went haywire. Medium Medium, C Cat Trance. Shriekback, Scritti Politti, Curiosity Killed The Cat, Big Country, Wet Wet Wet. And loads more.

I also found an interesting cover of Rickie Lee Jones’ Night Train. A couple of years ago, she said she would love for others to cover her songs. She realized that the general perception of her music is that she has such a distinctive voice, her compositions and lyrics might not be covered easily because each song is extremely authentic, breathing RLJ’s persona, spirit and imagery. Well, here’s a pretty cool version of Night Train, done by a duo, Joe and Ellen. And to end this in a Steely vibe, kinda keeping it close to its old Mizar5 roots, this same singer/bassist Ellen also has a clip up singing Josie

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