Those of you that have travelled in Australia may have picked this one up en route. Xavier Rudd is a one-man-band/multi-instrumentalist who plays guitars, Yidaki (didgeridoos), Weissenborn slide guitars, stomp box, harmonica, and percussion, Rudd made his US debut in 2004 with Solace. In the years since, his popularity and reputation have begun to mushroom for a string of conscious, heartfelt songs and an impressive stage show that finds him performing those songs? guitar, didgeridoo and various percussion parts simultaneously – using a unique set-up that finds him literally surrounded by his various instruments and singing from behind a stand holding three didgeridoos (of different keys).
A bona fide star in Australia, Rudd grew up in Bell?s Beach in Southern Victoria, notable for its cameo in the memorable surf film Point Break. He was reared in a music-friendly environment, where his parents spun records by the likes of Neil Young and Paul Simon.
In 2002, Rudd released his debut album in Australia, To Let, which was followed by Solace and in 2004 by Food in the Belly, his debut for Anti-. In his own country, he?s collected a string of gold and platinum sales awards for his albums and DVDs. Over the past five years, his popularity has ballooned in the US, where he has amassed a burgeoning grass-roots fanbase and the admiration of the likes of Ani DiFranco and Jack Johnson, while hitting many of the country?s top festivals, like Bonnaroo, Bumbershoot and Austin City Limits Festival.
The past few years have been a whirlwind for the singer. In between sold-out tours in Europe, Australia and the US, he?s supported the likes of the Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson and Ben Harper, and has been working on the film score for fellow surfer and Rudd-enthusiast Matthew McConaughey?s Surfer Dude, co-starring Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson. In the meantime, he?s earned a reputation as a great Australian activist, advocating for indigenous rights and environmental responsibility.
Apart from the touring and activism, recording proves a challenge. ?What I do, musically, is not something that people know much about,? he says. ?It?s kind of its own thing. So every time we go in to record, we learn new ways to approach it, to capture the right sound. There?s a lot of spill in the different mics, and a lot of factors to consider. So with each recording, we?ve learned different ways to approach it. On White Moth, I opened the door for the possibilities in the studio, and got a vibe for what I could do. On Dark Shades of Blue, I think we captured what we do live, the thickness of it, the tone. I think we finally achieved what I?ve always wanted to hear on my recordings?.
Xavier will be playing at this summer?s Grassroots festival, a festival of music, surf and ecological living in August.
After successfully organising the excellent Extreme Weekends, this year Linzi Wilson has turned her hand to something more organic. Linzi almost has Grassroots all planned out so look out for more information in next month?s issue.