With One Eye Open – Swampgrass Will Get You Wide Awake
The album switches on the blues monitor. British music from the wetlands of Somerset the swampy feel is warm and damp. Swampgrass is blues with a hint of Somerset Rock. Fueled by the power of Sharon Honeywell. As a debut album One Eye Open releases the energy and Swampgrass vibe.
The ten tracks are a demonstration of the sound Swampgrass has twisted around their arrangements giving rise to a distinctive sound.
The groove is deep from the off with bassist Andy Barnet and the syncopated drive from Dru Frank’s drumming. The guitar work throughout is British R n’B; and the link that holds the soul of the music together is the vocals from Sharon who tells the tale opening with Roadside Soul. Following on with a rocking title track the harp on this track has its place, the speed is frenetic from the beginning they are determined that you will be energized to stomp your feet and even get up and dance in your sitting room as you listen to the album.
The vocals are clearer and less swampy on Grandad Frank and the musicianship acts like an underscoring of the story that grinds out as the track builds. The tracks have a tendency to have the same deep groove then you get a track that has a fun rhythm as Heart Attack swells from the speakers. Closing with a piano fueled number that shows at last a different side to Sharon’s vocals this is a closing song that makes you think you will listen again and look out for when Swampgrass are touring.
The tracks that for me worked best were the trio in the middle Six Feet Deep, Get Me Goin’ and My Own Fool. One Eye Open, at times lacks finesse and textural changes, a slower number where the vocals are quieter and Brad and his guitar for instance plays blues that Sharon follows. Her voice has power and a depth of tone that needs some shading to give this album the standout quality that the band promises they can deliver. This is a debut and puts Swampgrass on a good leaping board to be heard further afield; the sax solo was searing and given the space in the song to explore the melody.
As a debut album Swampgrass show promise to be a festival and gig favourite on the British Blues circuit. For me like many debut’s the mixing just missed the mark, guitar from Brad could have had more moments and the harp just didn’t work or a chord too many on some of the tracks. Yes Swampgrass’ focal point will always be Sharon Honeywell’s voice that pours out a swampy, passionate lyrical tale.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD SEVEN doodle paws out of TEN ….
One Eye Open – Swampgrass – Independent
1. Roadside Soul
2. One Eye Open
3. Hell No
4. Grandad Frank
5. Six Feet Deep
6. Got Me Goin’
7. My Own Fool
9. Heart Attack
10. Little Things