J. Tillman – Year In The Kingdom
Western Vinyl 2009
Listen while reading:
It’s hard for me to write something about the new J. Tillman release because I think most things about Year In The Kingdom have been said and you all know them. But then I also think that this is not the only reason of writing something – at least for me. Writing about an album or an artist is also a way to express that you are thankful for the music and the work the artist had put into making it.
And therefore I’m not tired to write this little review about Joshua’s second output in 2009 that is already well known and will – that’s for sure – appear in some Top 10 lists this year. Few hours before Year of The Kingdom arrived per mail I read an interview for the Irish Times with J. Tillman. There Tillman said that he wanted to make a record that comes near to what you call a studio album – and with this he meant an album that was not only recorded with a four-track. “Hmmmm” I thought, and I was not sure if this is a good thing to do for him.
The shambolic sound, as Tillman refers to it, was one of the things I loved. I was really puzzled if this would work out – the good thing was I did not have to wait very long to find out. As soon as the postman was gone the record started outpouring his lovely sound and as I heard the line “I spend a year in the kingdom on my way, on my way through the garden” I knew that it totally worked. And as the first listening session went on I also knew that this is the music only one of the very best folk singer-songwriters could make.
There is no, and I really like to say it again: no aspect on this record that is not just plain perfect (ok, let’s not talk about the cover artwork…). What should I say to such mastership? I think there is nothing to say here. You get exactly what you want – sad folk songs sung by one of the most expressive voices I know. You got songs with just singing and acoustic guitar, but you also got tracks with a little more instrumentation. But this is nothing new and does not blur the pleasure.
If you would ask me what’s my opinion concerning the comparison of Vacilando Territory Blues and Year In The Kingdom I would know what to say. I would say that both releases are great and much better than lots of music nowadays but I would also say that I think Year In The Kingdom is a little bit better…and then I would run away and hide behind a big, big rock to never see the sunrise again for rating the records of the master…So if you want to do me a favour, please don’t ask me.
If you don’t already have Year In The Kingdom (if this is possible) don’t wait and get your hands on it! And this time this is not a recommendation, this time it is a direct order…And at the end you may want to check J. Tillman’s MySpace site or visit Western Vinyl.