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Jim Moray

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Album Review

Jim Moray's self-titled second album is an odd beast. On the one hand it seems to pull back from the sonic excesses of his debut to create something best described as folk-indie. But on the other hand it's very complex, darker, and more satisfying. Most of the tracks are traditional, as before, reworked by Moray, but there are three of his own compositions and one piece by lutenist John Dowland ("Flow My Tears"). Other than a very personal take on the big ballad "Barbara Allen," he's avoided well-known material, and the sound is definitely more acoustic — at one point the piano evokes school assemblies. It's definitely a disc that demands repeated playing in order to penetrate its shell. But really, it's folk-rock for a modern age, all the more impressive because Moray plays everything but strings, brass, and recorder himself, a veritable tour de force that gives him complete control over the sound (he arranged the other instruments). It's definitely more stripped down, but somewhat colder; even his voice doesn't have its earlier warmth. Take time with it, however, and it's ultimately very satisfying, like exploring a house with strange little rooms.


Born: Macclesfield, Cheshire, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s

Few Brit folk artists have caused such a stir as Jim Moray. His debut album, 2003's Sweet England, polarized opinion in dramatic fashion. Old traditionalists were dismissive of the computer-generated sounds employed on his daringly adventurous arrangements of old ballads featuring beats and tape loops, influenced as much by Massive Attack and Radiohead as the old trad singers. More, however, saw it as the most innovative and exciting development for British folk music in years, and at least one reviewer...
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Jim Moray, Jim Moray
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