Marching to beat of his own didgeridoo
It’s only hours before he takes the stage in Houston, TX, to kick off the North American leg of his Dark Shades of Blue tour, and a soft-spoken Xavier Rudd sits in his hotel room holding a phone to his ear.
On the other end in Calgary, a young reporter clumsily fiddles with her tape recorder, hoping to catch every word that comes out of the inspired Australian performer’s mouth.
No such luck.
Due to a fuzzy connection, an old recorder and the quiet tone of Rudd’s voice, not all the interview is audible. However, even the short snip-its of clear conversation revealed the thoughtful, brilliant nature of the 30-year-old singer/songwriter.
Dark Shades of Blue, the newest release from Rudd, differs in obvious ways from previous albums such as White Moth and Food In The Belly.
Using the didgeridoo as his key sound, Rudd often plays multiple instruments from the guitar to the drums simultaneously, as well as singing in his beautifully mellow voice.
With the most recent album, Rudd takes these instruments to a much darker place, and in discussing the change, he said this album is more personal.
“It’s a reflection of time,” he explained. “It’s just what comes through me. I don’t plan it in my mind … what comes out of me comes out of me.”
It’s obvious in both his live performances and recorded music, that his songs are not contrived and seem to be very natural, much like the performer himself.
After taking a break since his previous album release in 2007, Rudd said he’s excited to get back on the road.
“I’ve had a nice big break. It’s the biggest break I’ve had in about 10 years,” said Rudd.
“I needed it, but I’m really pumped about playing again.”
Beginning in the United States in mid-June, Rudd had since made his way upwards and will soon be in Canada — a country he described as having a particular connection to.
Something that is close to Rudd’s heart as well as his music is the issues surrounding the Aboriginal people of Australia.
“Australia and Canada, they’re still strong in their spirit … that spirit is still strong in the lands. That spirit moves through everybody.
— Xavier Rudd
The injustices and hardships faced, as well as the rich cultural history of this group are something that Rudd believes the indigenous people of both Australia and Canada share.
“I’m going to try and answer this as short as I can because I can go on for pretty long,” he said. “I feel that the countries are very similar in our stories.”
“People have been torn apart, children have been stolen from their parents, abused, people killed, their culture taken away … it’s going to take a lot of years before that heals,” he said.
“Australia and Canada, they’re still strong in their spirit … that spirit is still strong in the lands. That spirit moves through everybody.”
For that reason, and others, Rudd said, “I love coming to Canada.”
“It goes from crazy, crazy, crazy mountains and then all of the sudden it’s flat. You know it’s like whoa!”
Playing to a sold-out show in the “crazy mountains” of Banff of July 4, Rudd will then be hitting the stage at the Southern Jubilee Auditorium on July 5.
“I’m really pumped about this tour. I’ve got a new band and a whole new album and new sound,” he explained. “I’m really inspired.”