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Dan Tuffy – Letters of Gold

april 25th, 2020 at 11:48

Smoked Recordings/Continental Europe CECD86

prize winner.

Australian-born singer-songwriter Dan Tuffy is a veteran who has been making music for 35 years. Since 1993 he has been doing this from the Netherlands in groups like Big Low and Parne Gadje. Although he founded his Smoked Recordings in 2002 and released all albums of his first band Wild Pumpkins at Midnight on it as well as albums by Lucie Thorne amongst others, he also remained a well-kept secret after the release of  ‘Songs from Dan’ in 2017.

These eight new songs make it abundantly clear that this is an injustice: Tuffy proves to be a songwriter and singer that is just as experienced as he is inspired in songs he recorded with Australian and Dutch musicians such as Thorne, Matt Walker, Michael Turner, Madelief van Vlijmen and Judith Renkema.

From the moment he counts down and Renkema’s bass starts to grumble in a swinging way behind his staccato-strung acoustic guitar, he sings with restrained despair about his inability to control his feelings, while he rolls his load of stones uphill over and over again. The bare guitar solo full of dissonances midway through the song increases the expressiveness of Tuffy’s plea to try it with him anyway.

In other songs, his music is just as evocative. Tuffy, singing hypnotizingly to strong, atmospherically played melodies, for example evokes the incredible life of legendary Sydney resident Arthur Stace, but also articulates his grief about the recent Australian fires and his secret regrets about his children growing up.

This way he turns out to be a modern Sisyphus, albeit one that enjoys his eternal circle incredibly.

 

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