The beloved Australian folk multi-instrumentalist known as Xavier Rudd is back, and this time with a brand new band. Nanna marks Xavier Rudd’s 8th studio album. Once again, Xavier Rudd has managed to reinvent his sound by including a backing band called the United Nations. Nanna is probably the most joyful album that we have heard from Xavier Rudd, and its peacefulness seems to have a certain healing power to it. Nanna is another worthy album to add to Xavier Rudd’s discography which every Xavier fan should be quick to check out.
It is virtually impossible for a musician to produce 8 truly great albums, but there is something to be said for a musician who is able to produce 8 albums that are all unique. Xavier Rudd, like most musicians, produced his best albums early in his career, but since then he has been able to rejuvenate his sound into something remarkably different. The end result is that Xavier Rudd has 8 albums that all have unique value. This time around, Xavier Rudd added his biggest band to date, diminished his own musical role and shifted his habitual folk into something resembling reggae. Nanna is far from being a pure reggae album, but there is no denying the impact of the Caribbean genre in these songs. Mixed in with the reggae is some of his regular folk sound and something distinctly Afro-Cuban, all pooling together on an album with a strong tribal feel.
When Xavier Rudd became a trio, labelled Xavier Rudd & Izintaba, there was a similar noticeable decrease in the amount of Xavier. While he is well known for being a phenomenal guitarist, singer, and most of all, didgeridoo player, on both Koonyum Sun and Nanna Xavier Rudd functions more as a band leader and singer. In this case, with the United Nations being a 9-piece band (not including Xavier Rudd), the didgeridoo is almost completely absent, and his guitar work is relegated to a simpler rhythm guitar that blends in with the rest of the band. Nevertheless, Nanna holds true to Xavier Rudd’s flair for different instrumentation, with flutes and horns featured prominently on the album. He’s also added some keyboards and synthesizers, bass, drums, and plenty of backup vocals. Nanna is a rather rich sounding album, with Xavier Rudd’s powerful voice leading the way.
If you’re already a Xavier Rudd fan, go ahead and dive right into Nanna. If he’s new to you, I highly recommend trying out To Let, his first album. One way or another, Xavier Rudd and the United Nations have continued to add to an already impressive collection.