David Ross Macdonald,
Knuckled Brass & Bone
(Pepper Tree, 2006)

Australian singer-songwriter David Ross Macdonald can normally be found touring the world with the superb Australian band, The Waifs, for whom Macdonald plays drums and percussion. Away from these stellar trappings, Macdonald reveals himself to be an alarmingly accomplished guitarist and composer of majestically fine songs. Knuckled Brass & Bone, his third solo release, is a stunning showcase for his extraordinary talents.

Displaying a remarkable skill on guitar, Macdonald picks out some beguilingly intricate riffs that, combined with the stark beauty of his voice, recall the ghost of Nick Drake on more than one occasion and at other times the melodious guitar craft you might hear from Shawn Colvin or Bruce Cockburn. Macdonald's guitar and vocals are at the forefront of the mix, with sublime, minimalist accompaniment adding light and shade but never threatening to overpower.

"Shoulders Brown" is a winsome paean to a former lover, gone but certainly not forgotten: "These feelings here don't seem to want to rust / and I'm not sure that I want them to." Macdonald's crisp and confident guitar style is best demonstrated on the instrumental track, "Gibson Blues," a relaxed, blues-drenched number that sashays along effortlessly. Old favourite "Waltzing Matilda" gets a gorgeous contemporary makeover, with Macdonald's guitar delicately picking out the familiar melody with utmost precision, whilst allowing his voice to wander slightly, exploring different intonations to dazzling effect.

Knuckled Brass & Bone is an enchanting album, destined to sooth and relax even the most restless of souls.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Mike Wilson

15 September 2007

what's new