Over Xavier Rudd
Though Xavier Rudd is a surfer and singer-songwriter much like Jack Johnson and Donavon Frankenreiter, the Australian takes sonic risks those two dudes never would. A one-man band, Rudd employs a bevy of instrumentation, including didgeridoo, lap steel, banjo and percussion. The end product is globally conscious folk-rock that for the most part sounds like a young Paul Simon backing a group of Aboriginal musicians who are all about moody trance grooves. At the same time, the artist also likes to get his hippie jam-band on, often working a retro brand of Jimi Hendrix-styled fuzz into his music. In addition to making music and scouring the planet for the perfect wave, Rudd is an active environmentalist. Similar to his friend Jack Johnson, he is a vegetarian who attempts to minimize his carbon footprint. The tour in support of his 2007 album, White Moth, for instance, was totally carbon-neutral. After releasing five studio albums and countless live sets, Rudd unveiled a new backing band, the South African-flavored Izintaba, on 2010's Koonyum Sun. Thought not as heavy as its psych-rock predecessor, Dark Shades of Blue, the record is further evidence of Rudd's love for sound exploration.