Gianmaria Testa

Da Questa Parte del Mare

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Gianmaria Testa is an Italian singer/songwriter treasure, and for this release he's put together a loose concept album about migrants and those who move (or refuse to move) for work and war. He's backed by his usual acoustic roots band, but adds American guitarist Bill Frisell to the proceedings (and another American, Greg Cohen, gives a crystalline production). Testa's trademark gravelly, world-weary vocals speak of separation, loneliness and often resignation, but there's also hope, as in the beautiful "3/4," a simple elegiac song and finally a sense of place and possible belonging, albeit on a small scale. A superb lyricist with a marvelous eye for image, Testa picks up on the minutiae that make up a life, the small but still important things. What he's really created here is nothing less than a work of art.

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