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Leaving Songs

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Editors’ Notes

The crushed-velvet voice of Stuart Staples finds a near-perfect sonic setting on Leaving Songs, the British singer/songwriter’s best-realized offering since his departure from Tindersticks. Staples embraces American alt-country here, recording the album’s tracks in Nashville and enlisting Maria McKee for a duet on “The Road Is Long.” There’s a gritty barroom ambiance hanging over these tunes, suggestive of inebriated nights and painful morning-afters. But Staples doesn’t imitate country stereotypes as much as find his own version of honky-tonk balladry. “One More Time,” “This Old Town” and “That Leaving Feeling” move with an easy, melancholy flow that skirts the edges of old-school soul and European chanson. On “The Path,” Staples actually grooves, although with a downcast grace. He achieves an almost mystical glow on “Pulling In to the Sea” as he sings its yearning lines in a dusty murmur. The track arrangements are rich but understated, as burnished and evocative as the singer’s vocals.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Like Tom Waits or Mark Lanegan, Stuart Staples has a ragged voice that sounds like it's been wrecked by years of cigarettes and alcohol. Whether singing his lyrics in a whispery croon or incoherent mumble, Staples captures the twilight atmosphere of a lonely, dilapidated pub, creating sorrowful music that has little punch in daylight but becomes cathartic for lost souls in the late evening. In 1992, Staples formed the Tindersticks, originally a trio called Asphalt Ribbons, in Nottingham, England....
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Leaving Songs, Stuart A. Staples
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