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Hozier returns with tribute to protest singers

News Desk

Agence France-Presse

New York, United States | Sat, September 8, 2018 | 06:04 am
Hozier returns with tribute to protest singers

Hozier performs at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California, on April 11, 2015. Hozier on Thursday released his first new music in four years, a stirring tribute to the activism of Nina Simone and other singing greats. (AFP/Robyn Beck)

Hozier on Thursday released his first new music in four years, a stirring tribute to the activism of Nina Simone and other singing greats.

The Irish singer and guitarist found a global audience after his 2013 Grammy-nominated breakthrough "Take Me To Church", a hard-charging but folk-rooted song that indicts organized religion over homophobia.

In his first release since his 2014 self-titled album, the artist born as Andrew Hozier-Byrne on Thursday put out a four-track EP led by the title song "Nina Cried Power".

Fueled by the same passion as "Take Me to Church" but with an up-tempo edge influenced by gospel, the title track features vocals by Mavis Staples and organ by Booker T. Jones, both of them witnesses to the civil rights movement.

"Hozier is a rare artist who remains a wellspring of creativity," the 73-year-old Jones said in a statement.

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"Like a baby who never becomes a child, he lingers selflessly at the source, rendering one fresh song after the other," he said.

The title track name-checks late activist-minded musicians including Billie Holiday, Woody Guthrie and Simone, whose best-known songs included "To Be Young, Gifted and Black".

Among the EP's other highlights are the downcast and cryptically named "NFWMB", a song of longing that again turns to religious imagery.

Despite his measured output, Hozier has remained active on the live circuit and starts a tour of sold-out dates across North America on September 15.

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