Coming across an artist I have never heard of and discovering an incredibly deep career in music playing, producing and writing with/for some of the biggest names in country & Americana, well, frankly, I am a little shocked.
And then listening to his latest solo album and being completely blown away by a songwriter who tells stories, creates some superb jazz and does it all within a quiet and silky presentation.

He describes this as “a little biographical without being about me” and the 10 songs cover many of the experiences of a life where he was born and raised in Rhode Island and has now spent 30 years in Nashville – two lives as different as they could be.

The songs are wonderful, expositions of the different places he has lived and experienced with a realist view of the world and no rose tinted glasses. Numbers such as ‘Barrington’ where he sings about revisiting after growing up in his old hometown – neatly juxtaposed with ‘Rich Man’s Town’ where he makes it clear how it was to grow up on the wrong side of the tracks.

‘A Rhode Island Yankee on Jefferson Davis Court’ takes you to how it might feel to transplant yourself from the North East of America to the South (Nashville) and assimilating into the new homeland.

All through the album there are nuggets of clever – and generous – observations and there is a feeling of wonder at a life that he has lived and enjoyed.

Musically, it really is superb. His band comprises three members of Emmylou Harris’ band – Chris Donahue (bass), Brian Owens (drums) and Madeira himself as well as guest spots by Will Kimbrough and John Scofield. Style-wise, it is piano based and jazzy (New Orleans jazzy) but the music is there to work with the songs and the combination is what makes the album special.

One of those albums that will send me off to investigate some of his back catalogue but that is good enough in its own right to keep me happy for a while.


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