You don’t become Paul Weller without a heightened sense of cool. On a planet of billions he stands alone as the Modfather. On a planet on billions it is hard to know who to listen to, particularly when it comes to new art. This week as Paul quietly shares news about his new collaboration with Kate Rusby, aka “the first lady of young folkies”, I found it interesting to note the other young artists that I had never heard of until Paul shed his light on them.
Amy Winehouse – She had not yet released her album Frank (which came out in 2003) and Paul Weller had already mentioned her in an interview as one of the artists he was excited about. One of her hangouts apparently was the Jazz Cafe in Camden. I bought tickets to see her at the Jazz Cafe based on his recommendation. I am not even sure what year it was anymore but she had surely not turned 20 yet. It doesn’t surprise me now, but it did surprise me then, that she did not show up for the gig. Her first album came out sometime after this disappointing trip to Camden. Paul’s advice turned out to be a a stunner. Paul and Amy later ended up collaborating and turned in some great performances to coincide with Amy’s release of “Back To Black”.
Adele – In December of 2008, Paul collaborated with another up-and-comer named Adele. She had already hit the charts with with “Chasing Pavements” but she was not the household that she was to become. She was however about to pass through the Paul Weller pillars. It seemed an odd collaboration to me at the time. In retrospect, not so much.
Kate Rusby – Kate’s new album is titled 20. This fits right in between Adele’s albums 19 and 21 and is sequentially connected to Weller’s 2008 album 22 Dreams.? I don’t know much about Kate Rusby just as I didn’t know anything about Amy “the jazz singer” or Adele “the Amy wannabee” at the time. I will be interested to see what happens as this folkie passes through the pillars.