Richard Shindell

South of Delia Reviews

Net Rhythms (UK)

This is one of the best albums of covers I've ever come across. I say that at the outset because Richard's previous albums have excelled as much in the songwriting stakes as in the performance aspect. South Of Delia sees Richard delving into the rich roots heritage of that sprawling American borderland between country and folk, while also offering genuinely fresh perspectives on a few more overly well-travelled songs along the way. It's hard to define exactly what makes Richard's cover versions so very special, but I'll try... The first thing you notice is that there's a tremendous degree of sensitivity to the lyrics on Richard's part, for he sings each phrase with a true understanding - almost as if he'd penned the songs himself it seems - but also with a degree of knowing understatement that enables him to bring out the best in the musicians he's taken along for the ride. The other key aspect of Richard's interpretative gift is that he sings with an obvious deep affection for the landscapes (both emotional and physical) that the songs inhabit (perhaps this is surprising when you consider that, although New Jersey-born, Richard's lived in Argentina for the past seven years). For instance, and excitingly, Richard gets to the essence of Springsteen's Born In The USA in a genuinely fresh way, making me feel that I truly understand the lyric for the first time now; Richard emphasises the pain in the lyric so much better through his gently bitter delivery and reassessment of the song's pace, as compared to The Boss's air-thumping all-out anthemic sensory assault. Another masterstroke comes with Richard bringing out the latent melancholy in the blues classic Sitting On Top Of The World, his mournfully spare delivery and setting really

by Dave Kidman, Net Rhythms

updated: 10 years ago