Folk

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tony Hil­lier

Winter Sun Lucy Wise In­de­pen­dent It could be said that, as the daugh­ter of ac­claimed acous­tic mu­si­cians, Lucy Wise was des­tined to be a folk per­former of some renown. But pedi­gree alone doesn’t al­ways pre­de­ter­mine the kind of ex­quis­ite mu­si­cian­ship that the young West Aus­tralia-reared, Mel­bourne-based trou­ba­dour ex­hibits on her third re­lease. Winter Sun pro­vides am­ple ev­i­dence that Wise — hav­ing earned her wings in the fam­ily band, then with her own group — is soar­ing as a soloist. Across a dozen Amer­i­can and Celtic-folk-flavoured orig­i­nals and sev­eral cov­ers, she ex­plores themes of joy, sad­ness, love and re­la­tion­ships with the ma­tu­rity of a veteran. There’s noth­ing bound­ary break­ing; in­stead, these are care­fully crafted, old-school-styled songs con­sum­mately ex­e­cuted by a nat­u­rally gifted singer blessed with im­mac­u­late enun­ci­a­tion. Adroit ar­range­ments ac­cent the melo­di­ous na­ture of Wise’s mu­sic, with ukule­les pro­vid­ing the bulk of the back­ing. The artist’s ap­pre­ci­a­tion of old-time Ap­palachian mu­sic shows in a tra­di­tional song ( Swing and Turn Ju­bilee) and in Wild Roses, an out­stand­ing orig­i­nal. On Walk­ing Out and the equally evoca­tive Fol­low­ing Sparks, Wise plays at­mo­spheric dul­cimer. Gil­lian Welch’s in­flu­ence per­vades Ren­nie Street Love Song, while a Welch song, Hard Times, is en­hanced by fid­dle. In the uke-driven Winter Sun and Smile, Wise’s high­er­reg­is­ter vo­cals have the stamp of early Joni Mitchell. Her gen­tle tone in Here For Now is more rem­i­nis­cent of trad English songstress Kate Rusby. The set starts with a gen­tle folkrocker about bounc­ing back from a re­la­tion­ship breakup ( Solid Ground) and ends with a ro­man­tic bal­lad, You Light Up My Life, which, like the rest of a cliche-free al­bum, is re­fresh­ingly sans sac­cha­rin.

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