Xavier Rudd: Spirit Bird | New Album Review

On his seventh studio album, Spirit Bird, Xavier Rudd’s gritty voice rises like dust from underneath the dancing feet along an ancestral Songline. In a modern world of industrial landscapes filled with neon signs, it’s hard to “imagine if the trees could tell us where to go.” Yet, Rudd introduces listeners to Australian Aboriginal mythology with songs such as “Creating a Dream”. Dreaming is the sacred era of ancestral Totemic Spirit Beings who formed The Creation. The Aboriginal people ritualistically travel these songlines singing the world into a re-creation. This latest creation from Australian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist gives voice to socially-conscious themes that continue to be the plight of Aboriginal peoples. But Spirit Bird also brings solace to modern man. Each track on Spirit Bird seems composed of ceremonial rhythms, with an eclectic acoustic collection of blues, reggae, and indigenous folk music. In addition to playing the didgeridoo, stomp box and percussion, Rudd inserts melodic call-and-response vocals that are a traditional accent. “Culture Bleeding” unleashes a trance-inducing didgeridoo amidst guttural chanting, intricate drumming, and animist spiritual choruses. All of Rudd’s tracks and song lines are pensive, and reveal the writers patient and earnest approach. On Bow Down, perhaps you hear Xavier Rudd’s message to modern man, “I know we all have busy lives, but sing along if you have the time.”

Suggested reading: Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines

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