Boo Hewerdine: Open

review hewerdine x1 cong

This new album is a sort of greatest hits for Hewerdine; it features unreleased recordings made during sessions in 2003. The tracks include early versions of two of his classic songs (Muddy Water and Geography) as well as acoustic recordings of concert favourites such as Microfilm and Name, the latter song opening the album.
As well as being a sort-of hits package it could also be sort-of live album: Hewerdine recently played the Biddulph Arms and we’d guess his solo gigs are pretty much like this album, which is just him and a guitar; as demos, the tracks are probably recorded in one take.
Musically, it’s classic singer-songwriter fare, done well and with warmth. Name is an excellent and a well-paced song, using silence as much as music to make its impact. (In fact one line says: “there’s grammar in the silence”).
Track two Write is more of the same; 1981 #2 is a more downbeat song as Hewerdine sings about not being able to have someone, but loving them anyway. It’s mostly just him and guitar, though there is some electric guitar in places, such as Stone In My Shoe, and Earthquake Bird features the mandolin.
The upside is his lovely voice and the simple melody of the songs; downside is that there’s not a lot of variation across the CD. We tended   to enjoy it more after listening to   louder, faster music and its tranquil air was a tonic for the brain and ears.

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