Review | Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
by Courtney Leigh Allen, is originally from Seattle but now writes, lives and paints in the great city of Boston, Massachusetts.
Though Michael Kiwanuka’s debut album Home Again doesn’t officially arrive in stores until July 17th, it quietly became available on iTunes back in May. Kiwanuka has, over the past year or so, gained a following for his sound that seamlessly and effortlessly blends classic soul and folk sounds. For those who were excited to discover this guy over the past year, this album is exactly what you’ve been hoping for: more.
But it’s not just this soul/folk sound that people love, it’s his voice that’s beautiful as well. Back in January on his first visit to the states Kiwanuka stopped by NPR for a short interview and played a few songs. And listening to him talk between songs was just as enjoyable as the actual music. Originally from North London, born to Ugandan immigrants, Kiwanuka was a successful session musician before he even thought to begin writing and performing himself.
When people began hearing about Kiwanuka, the only access to his music was a few EPs and a handful of YouTube video sessions from blogs around the globe. Usually, just Kiwanuka and his guitar. But Home Again, is a reminder that this isn’t just one guy and a guitar. There are flutes that light up the opening track, Tell Me a Tale, and the title track Home Again is another beautiful tune that easily ambles along with assistance from more than a few pieces of percussion.
Last week Kiwanuka played at Boston’s Brighton Music Hall, and flanked by a five-piece band, the guys managed to make each song shine, without overshadowing Kiwanuka’s voice. And though most of the tracks on the album are 3-4 minute tunes, each song performed live seemed almost twice as long. In those moments, it was blatantly apparent just how talented this guy is. As a writer, as a singer, as a guitarist. There is so much more here than just his voice.
If his excellent live performances and the iTunes bonus track Lasan, produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach are any indication, Kiwanuka is just getting ready.
You can grab his album on iTunes and if you’re lucky, you can catch him when he’s back in August for a few dates out west. Though if you do miss him, I wouldn’t worry about it. This guy’s gonna be around for a while.