Xavier Rudd’s Food In The Belly

Xavier Rudd is an artist who has pulverised his fan base in recent times. His live shows became legendary and gained him an army of loyal fans. However, the rising cost of his ticket prices and a changing sound that some saw as ‘selling out’ meant that the loyalty of these fans was becoming strained. But with his latest album “Food In The Belly”, Rudd has responded the way any good artist should- with his best album yet.Opening with the thumping blues stomp of “The Letter”, Xavier has crafted an album that deserves to win back any disenchanted fans, and also gain the admiration of new ones. All the Xavier Rudd trademarks are there, with didgeridoos and stomp boxes central to the albums sound. However, he has managed to diversify his sound somewhat, with piano, organ, banjo, and even tuba all making appearances.

“The Mother” is a good example of this. Xavier provides strong vocals and the song is definitely his sound, but the organ gives it a reggae feeling and helps turn the song into one of the albums highlights. The title track is an upbeat slide guitar number, while “Messages”, which first appeared on Xavier’s live album “Good Spirits” is improved here with Beth Preston providing backing vocals.

“Connie’s Song” has a hint of country, but its banjo and tuba highlights the expansion of the Xavier Rudd sound. “Famine” picks up where “Solace” left off, but is a brighter and more fun song than it’s lyrics and title may suggest. “Generation Fade” is possibly one of the great Xavier Rudd songs. It is pure Rudd, with its genuine blues and roots sound, but put together with a great melody and backing vocals on the chorus by a number of children turn what could have been an average song into one of Xavier’s best.

All up, “Food In The Belly” shows a leap forward in Xavier Rudd’s songwriting and musicianship. It is a great album with everything you could hope for from Rudd and more. It’s great to see an artists pushing his own boundaries and branching out as he has done here. It is the album Xavier needed to come up with, one that deserves to win him new fans and appease his older fans, who need to remember that diversifying and developing is not a disaster. Especially not with “Food In The Belly”.