Tuesday, June 11, 2013

KT Tunstall "Feel It All"

We've played KT Tunstall's records from the beginning.  It was hard to deny a hit like "Black Horse And The Cherry Tree."  Hard to deny her talent.

But as she has progressed through her first three albums I was becoming less and less excited about her.

Increasingly, the records were relying on production for their strength.  The singles were slicker and decidedly more commercial, but felt less and less appropriate for the general sound of our station.  Tunes like "Hold On" and  particularly "Fade Like A Shadow" were surprisingly hard to place within an hour, too often sounding like they belonged on some Hot AC Hits station, not ours.

I got deeply disappointed, and at the same time increasingly hopeful, the day I came across some pretty amazing Youtube videos.

There are a ton of live-concert-setting videos of Tunstall performing as she must have when she was an unknown, busking on the streets.  It's her and her guitar and sometimes a sample/tape loop track.

Stripped of all the production, her natural charisma and deep well of talent rises straight to the front.

"Can she please make an album that strips away the bullshit?"

It sounds like she has.

We've been sent only a couple of tracks from "Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon," but this record seems to be a clear departure.  Hell, it practically sounds like a different artist.

Even the folks promoting the record to me, are expressing a bit of surprise at the leap forward in maturity Tunstall has made with her songwriting and presentation.  None of the four tracks find her presence overwhelmed by their setting, and on the whole, it seems like she's created something that puts the onus squarely on herself.

Which, in her case, is a very good thing.

Hear "Feel It All" on Youtube.

Hear "Fade Like A Shadow" on Youtube.

Hear an acoustic version of the song on Youtube.

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