Reviewed by: Sally Feller
Playing a sold-out show at the House of Blues in Boston, Paolo Nutini successfully overcame the venue size and left the audience with the feeling of being in a small intimate show in a pub somewhere. Having listened to Nutini’s first album, 2006’s “These Streets” and his latest gem “Sunny Side Up” I will unabashedly describe myself as a fan.
Nutini’s latest album is considerably stronger in terms of experimentation, and takes the listener on a journey through the back roads of America. You’ll hear everything in there, influences from New Orleans, certainly, and the blues, a bit of ukulele and some homegrown bluegrass, wrapped up by some chill Sunday morning coffee music to warm your soul. I was curious as to how this would all translate on stage, especially in a venue like the House of Blues, which holds around 5,000 people.
I found myself happily surprised by the translation to a live performance. Nutini emerged onstage and sauntered over to the microphone and belted out a pleasing mix of tunes from both albums. Crowd favorites mostly seemed to be from his original album: “New Shoes,” “Jenny Don’t Be Hasty,” and his latest single “Candy.” “Jenny Don’t Be Hasty” was the perfect song to finish off the set, leaving the crowd infused with renewed energy as they left the club.
Nutini seemed unassuming and relaxed and spent most of the show with his eyes closed, as you’d expect from any good soul and blues singer. I couldn’t help but be reminded of greats like Otis Redding and Van Morrison. I would be surprised to find anyone who’s seen a live show from Nutini that wasn’t compelled to feel every note in their soul, since it seems to come from the depths of the singer’s own. At only 22, I’m expecting many, many more great tunes from Paolo Nutini in the years to come.
Just a quick shout-out to show opener Erin McCarley. This was my first introduction to her music and I was wowed and immediately wrote down her name. She’s certainly worth checking out!
::THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED:::
A few weeks back we featured Paolo Nutini as our artist of the week. Well, NOW we’re giving away copies of his new cd SUNNY SIDE UP to three lucky winners.
To enter, please send an email with your name, email address and mailing addres to email@example.com with the subject PAOLO NUTINI.
We’ll pick three winners at random on Monday July 27th. Spread the word!
Paolo Nutini is currently on tour so check him out when he hits your city:
21 New York, NY Webster Hall
23 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
24 Boston, MA House of Blues
25 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts
27 Indianapolis, IN The Vogue Theatre
28 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse
29 Nashville, TN Cannery Ballroom
31 Toronto, ONT Opera House
1 Detroit, MI St. Andrews Hall
2 Chicago, IL Vic Theatre
3 Apple Valley, MN Weesner Amphitheater
For more info on Paolo Nutini, his current tour dates and his new album check out the links below:
Paolo’s insight on some of his new songs:
There was a lot of improvisation in the studio, musically and lyrically. “There was really some random, mad train of consciousness stuff, you just open your mouth and let it all come out. I approach a song almost like a letter, whether it be to my girlfriend or to the public. I find it easier to communicate emotions while singing, cause I feel I go out of myself, I’ve not got a guard up. I feel music is a great vehicle for any man, whether he’s making it or just listening to it, to portray his vulnerable side. I found an honesty in me, that I like cause i feel like I owe it to myself a little bit to say what I feel. It’s OK to be wrong. In the end it’s just a song.”
The first single will be heart tugging ballad “Candy” which was written after an argument with his girlfriend, when it suddenly occurred to him that the fault lay with him. “That doesn’t necessarily portray the state our relationship is in, or anything more than just one evening of defeat. But that’s all a song has to be.” Paolo has sought a quality of duality in his songwriting, so that he can deal with tough subject matter without sinking into minor chord melancholy.
Another stand out track is “Coming Up Easy,” which he suggests can be listened to from different perspectives. “Its about my own conflict I had about marijuana but you can hear it as a song about relationships, compromising, having to deal with someone else’s emotions. It’s about bad habits and breaking up, but I wanted to keep it positive.”
One song particularly close to his heart is “Simple Things,” a cheery paean to his father that sounds like it could have been written and recorded anytime in the last hundred years. “My dad lives a pretty simple life. Since he was sixteen, he’s worked in a chip shop, all day, everyday, 41 years in front of the same mirror, the same fryer. But then to see the joy he gets out of coming home to see us, of just sitting on the couch with my mum on a Sunday afternoon, after he gets to go and ride his motorbike. He’s helped me really appreciate what can be perceived as happiness, just out of sheer consistency. He’s never changed. You grow up and everybody’s trying to be cool and to me that word cool is totally misconstrued. My dad is the coolest guy I know, simply because its the last thing he reckons himself to be. Its a big time ode to my father, and owed in both senses of the word. The feeling I get knowing that he listens to it, and loves it, to me that’s what the whole idea of making music in the first place starts spiraling from.”
He says the songs of ‘Sunny Side Up’ are already changing the way he performs. “I can’t sing a song like ‘High Hopes’ all hunched up. I have to stand with my chest out. Different things are coming out. It’s like, ‘get it going, you’re at the front of those guys for a reason!’ Get the band feeling what you’re feeling, and then the audience will all feel it, and that’s where I’m getting. This record’s called ‘Sunny Side Up’ for a reason. I want to keep it positive. Cause for me music is more than just music. It’s a power!”
Check out the video for the first single off of “Sunny Side Up” titled “Candy:
For more info on Paolo Nutini and his new release: