Record Review - 2 October 09 2003

Nothing charges up a folksinger quite like nostalgia. Distant historical eras, the lost innocence of childhood or lovers who get away without actually consummating, the subject matter varies but the approach and intention remain the same: Cast a delicate acoustic web, pick a sweet melody, let the soothing hues of melancholia color your dreamscapes and woo the crowd with sensitivity.

British singer/songwriter James William Hindle has a modest, endearing voice that works nicely in whispers and a deft finger- picking touch that lend his simplest songs an intriguing level of complexity. Yet, it’s his yearning for the American landscape that drives these small, flattering tunes, inspired by the somber ends of several decades of acoustic American songwriters from Paul Simon to Elliott Smith.

Hindle recorded his second album at Marlborough Farms studio in Brooklyn and the album is littered with references — from the album’s title to the album’s closer “Park Slope Song” — to the borough. A young Brit, he’s apparently acclimated quite well to the States, finding suitable musical foils in an unflashy backing group that includes guitars, pianos, drums and violin for sweetener.

The album’s opener “You Will Be Safe,” lets fly with a Neil Young-by-way-of-Red House Painters buckling electric guitar rhythm, but mostly Hindle plays it quiet and earnest. He’d prefer you seek him out, rather than the other way around.

James William Hindle plays the Village Wed., Oct. 15. $10.