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Rock & pop: CD REVIEWS.

Byline: PAUL COLE

PICK OF THE WEEKK

ARINE POLWART Faultlines (Neon)SCOTTISH singer-songwriter Karine Polwart is up for five gongs at the Radio 2 Folk Awards next month but don't assume she's a dyed in the wool folkie. Her debut album is an eclectic affair, taking in roots, rock and jazz like a latter-day Joni Mitchell. From the black humour of The Sun's Coming Over The Hill (a sunny song about suicide) to the grumbling electric guitar of Azalea Flower - the chilling tale of a stalker and his victim - it's a must-listen.

Expect big things this year - and not a 'hey nonny no' in sight.

Live At The Greek (Warners) JOSH GROBAN THE young American with the big voice played a two-hour set at the atmospheric open-air LA venue, captured here both on DVD and CD. What's surprising is the range of his influences as he moves from the near-operatic tenor of songs such as Oceano and Per Te to caring covers including Paul Simon's America, Don McLean's Vincent and (amazingly) Linkin Park's nu-metal ballad My December. Best is the poignant 9/11 anthem To Where You Are, while extras include Believe from hit movie Polar Express.

Musical Tour Of New Zealand (Pure)

BILLY CONNOLLY

FOLK seems to be the flavour of the month as an all-star line-up reels off the soundtrack to Connolly's TV documentary series of the same name. The reels, jigs and ballads here feature folkies including the Big Yin (he was a folk-singer before he became a funnyman, remember), John McCusker, Kate Rusby, Ian Carr, Eddi Reader and pals. Notable for Rusby's previously unreleased Wandering Soul, it's an album for the enthusiast only and will leave Connolly comedy fans and the uninitiated unmoved.

PAUL BRADY Say What You Feel (Compass)

BONO describes him as 'the iron fist in the velvet glove of Irish music'. Eric Clapton and Van Morrison are huge fans. And he's written hits for Tina Turner and Cher. But to many this side of the Irish Sea, Brady is still a well-kept secret. His new album, recorded in Nashville, finds his white soul vocal deeper than usual and in a stripped back, acoustic setting.

The Man I Used To Be recalls Van the Man, Doin' It In The Dark has a gospel feel and Locked Up In Heaven is simply stunning. Great album.

FORSAKENUnknown World (1.2 Jigawatts)MIDLAND metallers Forsaken wear their musical hearts on their sleeves as they out-do The Darkness with rock riffery powered by Mike Vickers' spiralling Satriani-styled guitar and Ed Jones' blues-rock vocal, complete with Axl Rose sneer. They're full throttle for People Of The City, Time Of My Life suggests they like U2 on the quiet while The Life Within Me is a fine, if predictable, rock ballad. It all comes together in a capable cover of Van Halen's Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love - as you always suspected it might.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jan 9, 2005
Words:482
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Rock & pop: CD REVIEWS.
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