Audio Mixer: Goetz Botzenhardt.
Recording information: Soho Sound Kitchen; Tiki Toko Studios.
Photographer: Kurt Stallaert.
Arrangers: Angie Pollack; Tanita Tikaram.
The inspiration behind Closer to the People was to get Tanita Tikaram closer to her road band: to record the singer/songwriter with a touring combo with serious blues and soul roots. Several of these players have done time with Van Morrison, a comparison that comes in handy for Closer to the People, not because her songs sound like Van's -- they don't -- but the record trades in jazz and soul influences while also spinning these familiar tropes into the realm of the personal. Tikaram specializes in sculpted, open-ended compositions -- even when the tempo quickens her songs seem to unfold gracefully -- and that means the hushed arrangements, underpinned by acoustic bass and brushed drums, seem like reflections of the song's soul. Such tasteful surroundings mean Closer to the People works well as a mood album -- the quiet, sophisticated veneer is sustained from beginning to end -- but the album is rewarding with closer attention, attention that reveals the details in both the arrangements and writing. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine