Speed, Sound, Lonely KV [EP]
I guess it’s a wee stopgap – though this EP is something Vile was chipping away at, recorded in bits and pieces across several years during visits to Nashville.
It’s worth it for the bittersweet reminder of the magic of the great, and now late John Prine – here represented by both a duet with Vile (How Lucky) and by Vile’s opening cover version of the 1986 Prince classic, Speed of the Sound of Loneliness (as previously covered by Nanci Griffith, Alabama 3 and Amos Lee among others).
But maybe How Lucky is the song you’ll jump to first, to hear that gruff voice of Prine, accompanied here by his own great guitar playing and of course by Vile’s sublime skills.
The opening Prine cut is a gem too, and in Vile’s hands he pays it that huge compliment of bending it to blend with his originals. The relaxed, fluid way he has with a song intro and outro places Prine’s lyric inside the world of Kurt Vile musically. It’s gorgeously rendered.
There’s a real country twang to Gone Girl which is a Jack Clement cover. A country song through and through – but this setting really suits Vile, his voice almost whispered and Daniel Johnston-esque in this setting.
Dandelions is the standout beyond the Prine cuts. It’s that classic laidback Vile feel, crystal guitars, gossamer like and that straight-after-school-ciggy voice. It’s a reminder of Vile’s best works from his early/mid-00s heyday of Kilgour-esque sonic exploration.
The closer of this five-track EP is Pearls. Another simple wee gem. The Nashville players assembled here include session greats Dave Roe (bass), Kenny Malone (drums), Bobby Wood (keys) and mandolin star Pat McLaughlin. Vile’s guitar and McLauglin’s mandolin enjoy several dances knotting and winding themselves around one another. It’s just subtly glorious playing.
I like Kurt Vile. Always have. Always easy. Never quite the same – but always so instantly recognisable. I’ve also always enjoyed his little-snack EPs (as well as many of his albums too of course). This one is brilliant. Well worth hearing.
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