I don’t normally beg for music. I usually receive something in the mail, or get an email from the artist or as is more often the case find music myself online. But with Richard Shindell’s new record I resorted to begging. Luckily one of the great indie publicists is working the record. Richard Shindell is one of the truly great singer-songwriters working today. He’s got a beautiful, singular voice (equaled only by Ellis Paul, Slaid Cleaves and Greg Brown), is a great lyricist/storyteller and an equally talented guitarist. He’s also a very talented interpreter of “popular songs”, first with his folk supergroup Cry Cry Cry (with Dar Williams and Lucy Kaplansky) and now with his new record of covers, South Of Delia.
I’d get a lot more traffic if I posted his unusual reading of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The USA” or his version of the Robbie Robertson penned Band classic “Acadian Driftwood”. I’d probably get some young hipsters if I linked to his take on Josh Ritter’s “Lawrence, KS”. And these are all great songs but the historical and socio-political song “The Humpback Whale” really connected with me (hey, it’s got Richard Thompson on guitar so that should really bring `em in). The song was originally written about the practice of humpback whale hunting, a practice that nearly drove the whale to extinction, by the Scottish singer Harry Robertson but was also covered by Nic Jones. I’m not familiar with either of those previous versions but on this one Richard Shindell’s nylon string guitar plucking sounds sublime and his vocals are perfect for this bit of historical storytelling. You can pre-order this release now only through Richard’s online store here (it’s shipping now so it’ll arrive in a couple of days).
One of Richard’s own historical songs about the human costs of the civil war – “Reunion Hill” (plus click here to watch Richard perform one of his fan favorites – “Next Best Western”)