XAVIER RUDD JOINS A SWAG OF ACTS HEADING TO BYRON FOR BLUESFEST
Xavier Rudd wants to get you shaking your booty. The Torquayborn musician has gone from a one-man band to the frontman of a showcase of global musical talent, creating a fresh sound perfect for dancing.
Earlier this month, the 36year-old roots master released Nanna, the debut album from his new band Xavier Rudd & The United Nations – a collective of musicians from all corners of the globe, including Australia, South Africa, Samoa, Germany and Papua New Guinea.
And if you’re lucky enough to be going along to his gig at Bluesfest this weekend, he’s got some sound advice.
“Expect to shake your booty – get ready for an epic, groovy time,” Xavier says, laughing.
Fans would be used to seeing the musician on stage with a half-dozen guitars, didgeridoos and various drums.
But now they will be treated to an even more powerful sound, with the addition of more percussion, keys, horns, flute and backing vocals.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I was patient because I wanted it to be heavy and powerful,” Xavier explains.
“It was a very organic process; the right people presented at the right time. It was like our ancestors all sat down together, had a cup of tea and chose each person for the band.”
Since he broke out on the Aussie music scene in 2003 with his hit Let Me Be, Xavier has gained global recognition and a legion of fans from touring the world and a string of ARIA nominations.
But, even after his worldwide success and the making of his eighth album, he remains as humble as ever.
For Xavier, making music isn’t about collecting accolades, but about connecting with people.
When asked to share some of those touching moments, he admits there have been too many.
“I always feel really blessed to do what I do,” says Xavier, who has performed with stars including Jack Johnson, Ben Harper and Dave Matthews Band.
“It’s also a massive compliment when I find out I have been a part of other people’s journeys, like when they use my music in funerals and weddings.”
And it’s not just music where he spreads important messages of humanity and environmentalism. Xavier also works hard as an activist to raise awareness of Australia’s environmental plight.
Causes close to his heart are the Save the Kimberley movement, ongoing Sea Shepherd campaigns, stopping the Coal Seam Gas project in the Pilaga Forest in New South Wales and the plight of the Great Barrier Reef.
“I really want to start raising more awareness of the Great Barrier Reef this year,” he says.
“It’s a real problem that unfortunately people seem to forget about.”
But his most important role is that of dad to his two sons, Joaquin, 14, and Finojet, 9.
And like most parents, he has to work hard at the career/life balance to make sure he can be the best father he can be to his growing boys.
“I have chunks of the year where I’m away, but I always spend as much time as possible with them when I’m around,” he says.
“And it’s quality time because my days are free when I’m home; I don’t have to be anywhere.
“Sometimes when a family is together it’s easy to take each other for granted; I’ve never found that with my kids, we really respect the time we have together.”
He says his boys are showing signs of following in his footsteps.
“They don’t want to be shown anything, they like creating their own sounds and I understand that,” he says
Xavier will perform his local Australian shows before embarking overseas to America and Europe with his new band and powerful new sound.
Xavier Rudd & The United Nations, Bluesfest, Tyagarah Tee Tree Farm, Sunday.
EXPECT TO SHAKE YOUR BOOTY – GET READY FOR AN EPIC, GROOVY TIME
Xavier Rudd & The United Nations will be sharing their unique sounds at Bluesfest.