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TESS Magpie (2010)

Tess Eleven songs of introspection and hope from the pen of male acoustic / classic / folk rock singer Tess. Born and brought up on a diet as diverse and Bowie, Whitesnake, Nina Simone, Nick Drake and Tina Turner, Magpie focuses on the more acoustic folky aspects of song writing once dominated by the likes of Donovan.

A chance meeting with a cellist led to an introduction to producer and strings arranger Howard Gott (Beth Orton, Nerina Pallot, Ray LaMontagne, Florence & The Machine), and together they spent well over a year refining the album.

Built principally around Tessís vocal and guitar parts with Gott adding violin and , viola textures (as well as some guitars, percussion and bass), the album is a gentle dreamy affair, with delicate backing vocals, piano and Rhodes parts contributed by mixer Charles French (REM, Turin Brakes) and cellos, flute, bass, drums and percussion.

Mastered by Simon Heyworth (Nick Drake, George Harrison), Magpie is something of a throwback to early Bowie (pre The Man Who Sold The World), Donovan, and Bolan days, when a perm, an acoustic, and somewhere to sit cross-legged was all that was needed to get a recording contract. Enthralling.

***

Review by Pete Whalley

 


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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