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Will Palace is a complicated character, no mistake. In June when he last visited Britain, the slight, Louisville Kentucky woe-warbler (right) was up to what were by then his well-established tricks in interviews, running rings around a GLR present er anda Mojo scribe, side-stepping direct questions with a hick persona of ultra innocence. This man, in an ultimately charming, Jonathan Richman sort of way, does not respond to direct probes by strangers into his fascinating psyche. He could argue qui te strongly that we shouldn't need to pry anyway, given that his music is as pure and direct as it can get. It's country and folk for the main part, gracefully haunted by the blues, with guitars gently strummed, and lyrics flowing like everyday conversat ions.

His new mini-album, Hope, seems to revolve around the theme of parting ways, particularly "Winter Lady" ("Travelling lady stay a while, until the night is over"), and "All Gone, All Gone" ("If you think I should go, I really will go"). But it's clear constant change is something he loves. Debut Palace Brothers' LP There is No One That Will Take Care of You (Big Cat) featured members of the indie semi-legends Slint, while the follow-up, Palace Brothers was actually a solo affair. Now he records under a P alace Songs persona, with a loose bunch of musicians and a backing singer who was the erstwhile lass in the Beautiful South. In some ways, Will is an infuriating law unto himself, but musically, his heart never leaves the right place.

`Hope' is now out on Domino Records