Boo Hewerdine - Thanksgiving


Boo Hewerdine

(7 4267 2)

Compass Records

Nashville TN 37212

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by
Michael Gasser

It used to be that Boo Hewerdine was only known as "the bloke from The Bible''. Now slowly building up a more differentiated reputation, he presents us with another quiet and melancholic release, working with producer John Wood (who's known for his work with Nick Drake and Richard Thompson) for the second time in a row.

What I find most striking is that despite being recorded in different locations (London, Montreal and Nashville), the album remains truly British.

Maybe the prejudice about the English weather holds some truth in it after all; I can't think of any other reason why there are so many dark albums from the British Isles, seemingly more than from any other place in the world. It's not so much the melodies that have that melancholic touch as sometimes they even possess a jingle jangle brightness. Warm, folk inflected little pop vignettes, like an Elvis Costello gone slightly folky. However, the lyrics almost always seem to contradict any happier mood of the melodies. Boo Hewerdine almost exclusively sings of lost love, being separated from a loved one or the anxiety to go ahead and begin a new love affair. In Eve, even the street lady, who maintains a dignified life, despite rather bleak circumstances, is dumped by her boyfriend. For Boo Hewerdine life seems to be full of shadows and only every now and then a few rays of the sun can brighten things up.

Boo Hewerdine has got a very clear, but not exactly very powerful voice. So I think it doesn't come as a very big surprise when I tell you that normally his songs work best when they are fully produced. So, for example, the few songs that are done with string arrangements, all work beautifully as the strings actually enrich the interplay between voice and music very well. Likewise, the background vocals of Martha Wainwright, the guitar of Clive Gregson, and the piano/accordion of Teddy Borowiecki enhance many of these tunes as well.

Boo Hewerdine is a master of melodies. Seemingly effortlessly he tosses in one memorable melody after the other, nearly all of them having those little hooks that you don't notice when you give the album a first listen, but in fact they already have penetrated your ears. And then comes that moment when you're suddenly humming one of these songs and you fully realize what a superb artist Boo Hewerdine is, and what a fine album he's created with Thanksgiving.

Track Listing

  • The Birds Are Leaving (Hewerdine)
  • Swansong (Hewerdine)
  • Hope Is A Name (Hewerdine / Gregson)
  • Lazy Heart (Hewerdine / Reader)
  • Water Song (Hewerdine)
  • 'Our Boy' (Hewerdine / MacColl)
  • Bell, Book And Candle (Hewerdine)
  • Thanksgiving (Hewerdine)
  • Footsteps Fall (Hewerdine / Bjergfeldt)
  • Homesick Son (Hewerdine / Reader)
  • Eve (Hewerdine)
  • A Long Winter (Hewerdine / Gregson)
  • Murder In The Dark (Hewerdine)
  • Please Don't Ask Me To Dance (Hewerdine)

Edited by Paula Gregorowicz

Copyright 2000, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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