Michael Kiwanuka Covers Jimi Hendrix’s “Waterfall”

Written by
DJ Jeremy Sole, Michael Kiwanuka, Jason Bentley – by Larry Hirshowitz

I’ve been on a little Kiwanuka kick lately.

First, Jason Bentley premiered a brand new track by the U.K. artist that was written for a spot in the television show House Of Lies while KCRW was at the Sundance Film Festival.

Then, I was able to see him perform live at The Satellite with a new-look backing band consisting of Gus Seyffert (of the fuller Black Keys outfit) on the bass, who is purportedly producing Michael’s forthcoming album.

As DJ Jeremy Sole would say; “Quote me if I’m right, don’t quote me if I’m wrong.” But you can quote me on this: What I saw during that show was amazing and I cannot wait for the full album.

All that being said, I was immediately drawn to this cover of Jimi’sMay This Be Love” a.k.a. “Waterfall” because it highlights what I really love about both artists so much.

Popular history would like to pigeonhole Jimi Hendrix as some electric guitar savant who broke molds and changed rock n’ roll. He most assuredly is that, but he was also a very tender soul who could infuse psychedelia and blues like no one has ever done before. Some of my favorite Jimi songs all time are ones where his guitar is largely backing him up in the background.

Same thing can be said for Michael Kiwanuka. In the current, or forthcoming, iteration of his music, tight production and a fuller band has given a new look to this amazing talent, which is always fresh. But the parts that struck me the most were when he went back to his solo work and allowed his voice to expand through the notes.

This is where Michael’s talent really shines through and I hope his new album features that as much as his debut did.

I could listen to Jimi and Michael sing all day. There’s so much in there that, regardless of what’s crashing around them, they are the calm in the storm.

Live on KCRW– Michael Kiwanuka “Waterfall”