KRISTOF ROBERT – Nice Place (own label KRISRCD001)

Nice PlaceNice Place is Kristof Robert’s debut album, released in September this year. Robert is based in Carrick-on-Suir towards the south of Ireland but grew up in Orleans (in case you mis-read that, think the Loire, not the Mississippi) and the Guerande Peninsula, and this album is a delightful blend of influences.’L’oiseau Lecteur’ (The Reader Bird) is sung in French, the rest of the album is sung in English, with a French accent, which somehow adds a further element of warmth to the tracks.

‘L’oiseau Lecteur’ has a relaxed Cajun-ish feel to the singing (I haven’t translated the rest of the lyrics, so I’ve no idea what it’s about, but it’s a gentle listen) though a slide guitar rather than a fiddle or accordion; ‘Nice To See You’ is even more bluesy, reminding me of the gentler feel of Mississippi John Hurt’s ‘Louis Collins’; ‘Starlings’ bops lightly along; ‘Leo’s Guitar’ is early rock’n’roll, though the French accent gives it a very different feel.

The lyric of ‘Another Man’s Wound’ hits you softly over the head – a religious lyric perhaps, but one also applicable more generally to the way we build on the sacrifices of previous generations: “you died that we’d live and be free” …. “did you fight for that freedom in vain” … “it’s easy to talk now you’re gone, or to sleep on another man’s wounds”. Rather powerful, particularly because of its softer delivery.

The remainder of the album exerts a similar pull, it’s very listenable, gently arranged and played and with some rather neat musical touches – the guitar, say, on ‘Searching’ and ‘Hungry Midges’, the harmonies on ‘In The Dirt’, and the final snuggle of ‘The Sky Is Blue’ which ends the album. If you look on Robert’s Facebook page, you’ll be introduced to each of the musicians on the album – a talented bunch.

I rather like Nice Place. I’ve noticed that I’ve used words like: delightful, warmth, gentle, even snuggle. Have a listen to the video below and you’ll hear why this album, in Robert’s words in the title track, is “a nice place to sit around”.

Mike Wistow

Artist’s website:

‘Nice To See You’ – live, solo, acoustic:

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