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Opinion Pieces

Paolo Houdini – Where is the Lone Ranger Scotsman?

“Simply put, the music scene needs Paulo Nutini back – its quite boring without him”

If, like me, lockdown has prompted you to take a musical trip down memory lane, you may have re-discovered albums that reside deep in your brain and which hold a wealth of memories. Going through old records, CDs and even tapes there was one artist which made me instantly lose track of where I was… Paulo Nutini. The instantly recognisable twang of pure Scottish vocals and melodic acoustic guitar transported me back to the late 2000s, what seems like a lifetime ago. I put away the other records lying around and settled into a night of Nutini’s back catalogue and an emotional rollercoaster began.

Released in 2007, Nutini’s first album, These Streets, contains the classics Jenny Don’t be Hasty, New Shoes and Last Request and arrived onto the charts at number 3. After a plethora of gigs and festivals, Nutini kickstarted Summer 2009 with his flawless second album, Sunny Side Up. Debuting at number 1, the album has no fixed genre, moving from the immensely uptempo 10/10 to the reflective Candy. Perhaps the most overlooked track on the album is Chamber Music, a simplistic Bob Dylan inspired folk song unlike anything that appears on albums these days. Sunny Side Up is one of those rare albums that with a gun to my head I’m sure I could recite every lyric from. After a brief hiatus, Paulo’s third and last album to date Caustic Love caught even the most ardent fans off guard. Gone was the jaunty circus feel of Sunny Side Up, replaced by tracks of incredible lyrical maturity. The outstanding track from the album (and of Nutini’s career) Better Man, a straight to the point and beautiful love song, displays the raw talent the Scotsman possesses.

However, since 2017, Paulo has been missing in action with no indication of a new record or any music at all. I can’t help but feel that a post-pandemic world would be crying out for an earthy and feel good live Paulo Nutini gig. In live action, Nutini’s gigs are unique from one night to the next with each being an interpretation of his own albums and some performances being inspired from a “higher” influence. The rise of Scottish singers as of late with Lewis Capaldi and the independent Gerry Cinnamon, has brough Nutini’s whereabouts back into discussion. While Capaldi’s debut album has resonated well with younger generations, his 13 song break up whinge leaves little room for inspiration or excitement. Gerry Cinnamon is perhaps the most similar artist out there to Nutini but lacks the lyrical genius his predecessor brought to the table. Simply put, the music scene needs Paulo Nutini back – its quite boring without him. If the worst happens and he never returns however, we have three amazing albums to reminisce over but please come back Paulo, we need more.

– Thomas O’Callaghan

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