Recorded on a cold day between Christmas and New Year's on the Scottish island of Skye, Tunstall unveils a delicious mix of stripped-down gems from Eye To The Telescope, a version of her limited-edition single "Throw Me a Rope," and a tasty cover of Beck's "Golden Age." The companion DVD features special behind-the-scenes footage of the making of Acoustic Extravaganza and an intimate look at both KT and her band.
If Eye To the Telescope introduced a bold new talent, KT Tunstall's Acoustic Extravaganza confirms that the Scottish singer is no fluke. Whether stripping down tracks from her platinum debut--nominated for both a Grammy and Britain's coveted Mercury Prize--or taking on Beck's tender "Golden Age," it's all about the Voice and the Voice is good. While Telescope elicited comparisons to Joni Mitchell and Björk, in acoustic mode, Tunstall sounds more like countryman Rod Stewart back when he was fronting the Faces. She's got that soulful thing down to a science, but there's nothing affected about it, and she never pushes too hard. Ten years of busking can do that for a girl (it's how she learned to use a loop pedal to duplicate the sound of a full band). Originally only available through her website, Acoustic Extravaganza doesn't include hit singles "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and "Suddenly I See," the theme from The Devil Wears Prada, but then it isn't a greatest hits collection. Recorded in two days, the CD/DVD set consists primarily of non-LP material, like the angry "Ashes," plus the featurette Five Go to Skye (Making the Album). The parental advisory warning ("explicit content") refers to the profanity in "Ashes." Otherwise, there's nothing objectionable going on here. --Kathleen C. Fennessy