I'm going to keep this week of record reviews going on this early Wednesday morning with the debut album from a Scottish singer, songwriter named KT Tunstall. I have to give all the credit for me even hearing this record to who ever did her pre release press, cause I couldn't get away from reviews of this record. Already a hit in the UK it seams the lads and lasses at her label are hell bent on making this a hit this summer, and with Tunstall's natural talents they might just pull it off.
Let me premise my thoughts on this record by saying I am now, and have always been a huge fan of the musical sub genre of a woman with a great voice and the ability to play the guitar and/or the piano. (See Missy Higgins, Cheryl Crow, Clare Bowditch, Sara Bareilles, and Tristan Prettyman references in the last few weeks.) This is not to say that all you need to do to sell me a record is be female and strum the strings or tap on the ivory while humming along in tune. I want storytellers, and frankly, I'm not asking that everyone be Bob Dylan. We can only expect to be captivated once, maybe twice a year by some new release, but it is the solidly good records that make a music year pass well.
In "Eye to the Telescope" this is precisely what Tunstall brings us. Her voice is a bit more serious than some of the previously mentioned artist, but holds a distinctly attention getting quality that begs to be listened to. The music on the record is well arranged and superbly played to keep from distracting too much from the vocals, all the while aiding in the process of telling a story. Tunstall her self appears to be a story, if you can believe what you read about her.
She is part Chinese and Scottish, and lists her influences as all past artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Waits or even the Flaming Lips. Her music comes across as raw in intention but polished in presentation and I wonder if her public persona is the same. In a recent interview following the Brit awards she said she is just a normal girl who isn't used to getting all dolled up for industry gallas. "My problem is that I'm rubbish in high heels" she said, adding "As I stepped up for my Brit award I kept thinking to myself, 'Whatever you do, don't fall.'" No worries KT, you keep it up, and I think you'll find your self standing steady on your two non high heeled feet.
This record has a few tracks you can add to play lists on your Ipod or what have you. The first single in the States is sure to be "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" but I think the stand out is "Other Side of The World" which has all the chops it will need to make it on radio. "Under the Weather" is also well penned and played and is a bit more on the adult contemo tip, but easy on the ears. Any of you who are fans of the new hit show "Grey's Anatomy" may recognize the song "Miniature Disaster" from a recent episode as well. KT, 'that's good work out of you.' Still on the plate for this week, Cat Power, Artic Monkeys, Either Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah or Panic! at the Disco, and just added to the docket Matisyahu the Jewish Reggae artist.