Australian musician Xavier Rudd debuted in 2002 with To Let, an imaginative work coupling feel good music with deeper, more inspiring themes. A multi-instrumentalist, Rudd’s use of didgeridoos, stomp boxes, guitars, and more showcased his country’s roots, inspiring native Australians and opening the eyes of an international audience to styles rarely heard before.
In 2004, Rudd released Solace, stripping down his songwriting technique to the bone. Displaying Xavier’s talent as a one-man-band, singles like “Let Me Be” and “Shelter” led Solace to the top 20 of the ARIA, the Australian equivalent of the Billboard charts. An emotionally moving album, Solace was recorded in Vancover with producer Todd Simko.
A year later, Xavier Rudd released Food in the Belly, a more low-key, distressed effort, further defining Rudd’s trademark sound.
Rudd continued recording and releasing music, including 2007’s White Moth, and 2008’s Dark Shades of Blue, where the musician’s lapsteel playing shocked longtime fans with an entirely new direction to his approach. Dark Shades of Blue was again another foray into the dark, introspective side of the artist.
By 2010 Rudd was continuing his unstoppable roll, releasing his sixth studio album in eight years. Turning back to a more hopeful, joyful tone, Koonym Sun would be the artist’s first approach to recording with an accompanying band, finding support from bassist Tio Moloantoa and percussionist Andile Nqubezelo.
Most recently, 2012’s Spirit Bird is a culmination of sorts, combining Rudd’s more traditional Australian roots with a multitude of new sounds, including influences from folk, reggae, blues, and more. Vibes from Solace, Dark Shades of Blue, and other past releases all find their way onto Spirit Bird, truly making it the crowning triupth of Xavier’s career so far.
Xavier Rudd has made a name for himself on the festival circuit, having performed at moe.down, Wakarusa, High Sierra, and Bonnaroo. He’s also performed on tour with artists such as Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Dave Matthews, and G. Love & Special Sauce.
Dean Goranites | Associate Editor