19 Feb 2018
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The Frank Burkitt Band - Album Review: Raconteur

14 Feb 2018 // A review by Miss_Jukebox
Peruse through the gorgeous pages of Frank Burkitt’s storybook in Frank Burkitt Band’s latest album – a beautiful collection of narratives set to folk, jazz, blues and American roots essences.

Raconteur is the second full-length album from the band, who formed in Wellington during 2014 after Burkitt, and his partner Kara Filbey (who provides vocals, flute and percussion on the album) moved from Edinburgh. Making up the rest of the band are Cameron Burnell (on mandolin, tenor banjo, backing vocals) and James Geluk (double bass).

The storybook begins with Work So Hard; a bluesy song that has Burkitt painting a vivid scene of an encounter in a bar that inspired the wisdom of the chorus that sings ‘if you’re happy with a little, you don’t need to work so hard.’ Burkitt keeps the delivery simple; letting the opulence of his vocals drive the song and utilising twangs of the guitar and the gliding flute as reinforcement. It’s a song you’ll be humming to yourself for days after you first hear it.

The guitar gently leads us into second track, Simple, before Burkitt’s vocals and Geluk’s rich double bass tones billow in. The song once again has a perfectly-formed, harmonic chorus and shows the potency of the writing and arrangement of the album.

Albert Woodfox is a pleasant folk song that has wonderful banjo inflections and an endearing flute solo by Filbey. The song is bound by the syrupy vocal melody. It eases into the laidback, country track, Walkin’ Right, which Burkitt fills with a stunning delivery of his upper vocal-range. The song is about an eccentric guy that Burkitt often met at festivals in the UK; a guy who claims that his trousers belonged to Jim Morrison!

The ever-so sassy Too Much Noise begins to round out the album before final track, the unaccompanied ballad My Heart Waits. This incredible acapella number feels like an old Elvis-esque love song and makes for a splendid ending to a splendid album.

You will walk away from this album feeling a true connection to Burkitt – the sincerity and heart that emanates from his song writing is endearing, to say the least. I believe people who are truly great at their craft make what they do seem easy – and Raconteur has such a heartfelt simplicity – both lyrically and in composition. Yet, when you break down the fibres of the album, you will find superb moments of instrumental and melodic exquisiteness - outstanding accents of trills and lulls.


Review written by Janise Kumar

 

About The Frank Burkitt Band

Creating a truly genre spanning album influenced by jazz, blues, folk, swing and all things American Roots, The Frank Burkitt Band are a Wellington based string band that have become popular throughout New Zealand since their inception in 2014. Inspired by the likes of Van Morrison, Pokey LaFarge and Billy Joel, it is highly original songwriting that makes them stand out.




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