Various Artists – Home is Where the Art Is (15 Years of Reveal Records)

Album Review | Reveal | Review by Allan Wilkinson

A rather generous overview of Reveal Records, which features no less than 38 tracks (57 on the digital version), culled from the numerous albums released on the label since 2006 as well as a good few previously unreleased live tracks and radio edits.   Over those fifteen years, the label has grown in stature and has built up a strong and impressive roster of artists, which includes within its ranks Eddi Reader, Lau (both the group itself and each of its individual musicians as soloists), Boo Hewerdine, Blue Rose Code and notably, Joan Wasser, otherwise Joan As Policewoman, who kicks this collection off with a live take of “Valid Jagger”.  The Connecticut-raised musician was instrumental in getting the label off to its start back in 2006 in partnership with the independent record shop owner Tom Rose and on this collection, brings along some high profile pals to give the project even more credence, as if it needed it, with duets with both Rufus Wainwright on “To America” and Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons fame) on “I Defy”. 

In a way, Home is Where the Art is can be seen as being reminiscent of all those iconic sampler albums of the early 1970s, where the majors would showcase their artists in the hope that listeners would go out and buy some, if not all, of the albums represented. Here, Reveal Records treat us to more than just the one representative song, indeed rather more a fair selection of each of the artists’ output over the years, including Lau’s “Himba” and “Ghosts”, Eddi Reader’s “Vagabond” and “Wild Mountainside” and Drever, McCusker, Woomble’s “The Poorest Company”.  If the label does at this point seem to towards the Scots alt-folk side of the fence, the label also champions other artists from around the world including the indie rock of Gramercy Arms and the songwriting of Benjamin Lazar Davis (both New York based), the electronic vibes of Berlin-based Grip Tight and the full blown orchestral work of the Derbyshire-born Richard J. Birkin.  With other notable inclusions of Martin Green with Adam Holmes and Becky Unthank, The Little Unsaid and  Nels Andrews, Home is Where the Art is stands as a fine introduction to Reveal Records as well as a perfectly well structured overview of the label’s triumphs thus far.