Xavier Rudd's career didn't require a creative shakeup. The Australian native had nothing to prove, after releasing eight well-regarded Gold and Platinum albums over the past dozen-plus years, earning several ARIA (Australia’s Grammys) nominations and amassing a feverishly loyal fan base in every corner of the world.
As is often the case with multi-faceted musicians who are compelled to push their art in new and interesting directions, Rudd has long harbored the desire to assemble an Impossible Missions Force of global musical talent with the express purpose of refracting his ideas through fresh contextual prisms. With his new album, Nanna, Rudd has achieved his goal with a new band that he's appropriately dubbed the United Nations.
Consider that mission accomplished. Rudd and the United Nations have crafted a muscular album reminiscent of Robert Plant and Alison Kraus' Raising Sand, in the sense that Nanna draws on the broad musical experience of its participants and yet winds up sounding distinctly different from their individual sonic résumés. Rudd's patented Reggae/Blues/Jam hybrid comprises the core sound of Nanna but he and his group expand into fascinating new areas.
XAVIER RUDD & THE UNITED NATIONS play Wednesday at 20th Century Theater. Tickets/more info: the20thcenturytheatre.com