Related Reviews

... so musically talented that hearing them verges on the sublime
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...The delivery was charming, the vocals outstanding
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StereoMojo
"Lifejacket is an intelligent and sophisticated collection of stories..."
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Hi-Fi i Muzyka
5 Stars
Record of the Year in the Jazz Vocal category
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Hi-Fi Magazine
Album of the Year 2008!
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Jazz Times
If "Lifejacket" doesn't end up at or very near the top of this year's jazz vocal roster, I'll eat my iPod.
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Atlantic Audio Society
Ian Shaw's first collection of self-penned songs, makes an indelible impression
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The Vortex Website
The focus is firmly and deservedly on Shaw's considerable gift for lyric writing and his own versatile, unmistakable voice. Strongly recommended.
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BBC Website
He's moved from Canada to Camden and he's laying his own life bare.
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Observer Music Monthly
4 Stars
A reminder of what an important talent he is.
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The Scotsman
3 Stars
The (Joni) Mitchell influence is palpable on the songwriting
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Time Out
Shaw is both entertaining and endearing on these self-deprecating Soho stories.
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The Times
Sophisticated story-songs penned by Shaw.
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Yorkshire Post
This is a top-drawer contemporary jazz vocal CD.
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The Guardian
3 Stars
Shaw's mix of haunting falsettos, jazzy agility and conviction is as classy as ever.
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Jazzwise
4 Stars
A sophisticated array of songs, mixing lyrics of wit with melodies that match.
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Ian Shaw - Lifejacket - Coda


13 October 2008
Coda
Trevor Hodgett

"Drawn to All Things", his scintillating debut album of Joni Mitchell covers, confirmed Shaw's reputation as probably Britain's greatest male singer and as a wonderfully sensitive interpreter of great songs. His follow-up album now establishes him also as a gifted songwriter for "Lifejacket" is mainly self-composed, in collaboration with guitarist David Preston.

The songs typically have oblique, challenging, poetic lyrics - one might assume a Joni influence here - that seem autobiographical. Most are dark and uncomforting.

Pamela, for instance, which features an elegant guitar solo, is a reminiscence of childhood. Bu there is no comforting nostalgia here. "Those weren't the days", asserts Shaw and the line "I've come this far" sounds weary and despairing rather than triumphant.

Even in I Want to Live in Paris, in which he invites a lover to Paris and depicts in details the life they could have there, the romanticism is undermined in the final line with Shaw adding, "Or shall we move to New York?"

The most affecting song is A Good and Simple Man, a loving tribute to his late father while Letter From a Dead Soldier which features goreous, elegiac trumpet from Guy Barker, is also very moving.


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