Xavier Rudd’s second record opens with “Shelter,” where he sings: “Here I am, this is my shelter/Here I’m at one with the trees/All these birds sing to my rhythms/All these waves comfort me.” A deep and abiding love for the natural world is evident throughout Solace, an intimate production released in 2004. Such is Rudd’s fondness for the outdoors, he often took time between touring to explore his surroundings wherever he was in the world, a habit that echoed his humble appreciation for the planet on “Journey Song” and “Partnership.” But there is also a strange bafflement as to his place in that world, one that set him apart from his closest local contemporary in fellow roots musician, John Butler (who had released the similarly earthy Sunrise Over Sea the same year). “Let Me Be” struck an instant chord. Rudd’s deeply felt cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” also immediately captured listeners. But it is “G.B.A” that anchors all directions of Solace to a need for oneness with nature. When Rudd powerfully intones: “Still the sun shines and the moon it sinks with grace/It’s such a shame that all this shit exists/Here on this earth, this magical place” over a swirl of lap steel and yidaki, it becomes clear that the recording of Solace has been a process of finding it.

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