Music » Critics' Picks

Xavier Rudd

8 p.m. Friday, September 19. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard.

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Australian multi-instrumentalist, sin-ger/songwriter and one-man-band Xavier Rudd preaches positivity. He challenges people to change the world in which they live and recognizes the efforts of those who work hard to protect the environment. But the moody veil of mystery in which he cloaks the songs on his new album, Dark Shades of Blue, is a departure from his previous album, White Moth. That album's glass-half-full mentality embodied the rootsy elements of this earthy world-musician's catalog, but at times came across as overwrought. Blue utilizes darkly overdriven slide guitar outbursts in the tradition of gritty axe-wielders such as Ben Harper and Chris Whitley. They're the perfect backdrop for lyrics that paint a realistic picture of a road-weary troubadour who longs to change the world almost as much as he yearns to get back home.

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