Sunday, January 15, 2012

The best of 2011 - #2

Sorry for the delay, but here we are: the penultimate album of last year, and although 2011 is rapidly receding into the mists of the past, this album will be in heavy rotation on my iPod for quite some time, and I doubt very much that I'm alone in that.

 #2 - Robbie Robertson - How to Become Clairvoyant

Robbie Roberson has been producing (in every sense of the word) amazing music for decades, from the classic hits with The Band to his impressive solo repertoire, and he's clearly not nearly done yet.
How to Become Clairvoyant ranges from the spiritual exploration of Straight Down the Line to the melancholy wistfulness of the title track to the nostalgic poignancy of an aging (aged?) hippy, which teeters on the edge of outright despair, in When the Night was Young.
Throughout all, Robertson sprinkles the prefect lick, riff and harmony in exactly the right spot, as only he can. 

The other thing amazing thing about this album is the number of musicians that appear alongside Robertson on many of the tracks. When you can attract names like Eric Clapton, Tom Morello, Steve Winwood and Trent Reznor, it's pretty clear how respected, and inter-generational, your music is.

Not that Robertson is new to collaborations, obviously, but he doesn't just rehash what's been done before, either in terms of his musical partners (although who wouldn't want to hear another track backed by Peter Gabriel?) or in terms of the music itself.

There's a general style and feel to Clairvoyant that harkens back to his amazing 1987 solo debut, but does it in a way that makes both albums feel new, rather than aging this one.

It's awesome. Listen to it. All of it. Over and over again.

Possible my favourite (in a really, really tight race) track on the album – Straight Down the Line:

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