E.P. Review: Rob Richings ~ Half Way Up

Rob RRob Richings
Half Way Up
Crescent Records

RELEASE DATE 20th November 2015
This four track EP is a delightful taster of the power of singer songwriter Rob Richings, and like any taster it whets the appetite and you are left wanting more, already anticipating a full length debut album of magical delights, which one is assured will be started once current touring commitments have been met.
Opening with the title track, on a personal and totally illogical note, I prefer the title track nestled into the mix so it almost unnoticed in the track list. That said Half Way Up is a wonderful track to open the album, close the record or anywhere else.
There is no doubt that it is the lyrics that are the heart and soul of the EP and the instrumentation has been crafted with care to augment the lyrics and never overwhelm, Rob is a modern day travelling minstrel who entertains. The authenticity of the words shine through there is a truth in the words that they come from his heart and personal experiences. Carnival is a track of pure beauty with a lead break of haunting strings, the power of piano and the added layer of a chorus, despite all this studio artistry it is the song and guitar that beats the Carnival spirit.
Rob is back working and touring after a life changing illness and the final track of the E.P was inspired while sitting in a 17th Clandestine Church in Amsterdam, Rob found it a deeply peaceful and spiritual place, and wrote the song Lord In The Attic on the spot, a mesmerising song full of beauty like sun shining through a stain glass window. This is four gems that shine and make a musical collection all the better for having Half Way Up in the collection an E.P. short, fragrant and perfectly formed.


Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

1. Half Way Up
2. Richer Man
3. Carnival
4. Lord In the Attic

Don’t take my word for it go see Rob live at one on the gigs during a busy November
Tour Dates:

4th – Glad Cafe, Glasgow (Tom Baxter support)
5th – The Caves, Edinburgh (Tom Baxter support)
6th- South Beach Sessions, Troon (Tom Baxter support)
13th – St. Mary in the Castle, Hastings (Fishermans Friends support)
19th – Phoenix, Exeter (Tom Baxter support)
20th – Railway (Attic), Winchester (Tom Baxter support)
21th – Convent Club, Stroud (Tom Baxter support)

CD Review: RavenEye ~ Breaking Out

RavenEye - Breaking Out EP artwork


Breaking Out
Release Date 11th May 2015


Opening with the title track you hear the RavenEye transformation of Oli Brown.  The guitar playing is still full of passion and style but now has a full-on heavier rock sound that cascades out of the speaker the music really is Breaking Out from any constraining mould.  It is a track that has redefined Oli, a young multi award-winning guitarist known for the blues.  The drumming drives the groove via Kev Hickman’s sticks which when combined with Aaron Spiers bass you get the throbbing backdrop that allows Oli’s vocals to fly to the ceiling so that the sound fills every crevice of the space available.

This is deep down and dirty with enough effects to add interest and another tonal structure but not to destroy the shape of the music and the star of Hey Hey Yeah is Oli’s vocals they fly off the tongue that pulls you into the song and then the little guitar breaks with licks and hooks for the lyrics that make the mouth water with delight, this is a track full of excitement and urgency you just want it to go on and on; but no it stops and there is silence’; until the speaker lights up with the next storming track. Closing with You Got It, the pace slows down but the sound the trio is creating is enough to fill any arena this is a band that are set to create music that brings out the depth and skills of all the instruments. There is a balance and at times less is more as the number of notes are kept simply that is unusually in many a rock number; the tracks are all the better for it as it enables changes of tempo and emphasis mid-track as on You Got It.

If you have heard of Oli Brown, do not expect blues this is rock that has the shadow of blues entwined within its structure but Oli, Kev & Aaron are rocking the cobwebs away with a very stylish vibe. This five-track E.P. makes you want to hear more, now your rock music soul demands to hear more; get that album and keep on touring as RavenEye have encapsulated the live sound in the studio, the raw energy and controlled power combine to produce a classy E.P. we like the new darker Oli and  RavenEye.

If this was a full album would definitely be 10; but this is an E.P. and definitely work in progress of a new band with all the potential to hit the top.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….

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Review: Dan Burnett ~ E.P.

EP-front-sized-300x266Dan Burnett

With no tracks to waste this is an E.P. crammed with music, of varied textures, shapes and tempos with some clever guitar hooks for Dan Burnett’s voice to hang onto and stretch out. The vocals are definitely the key to the sound being produced. Dan is a singer/songwriter who brings excitement using a blues tone as the backbone shaping around this he layers stylish jazzy sound courtesy of his piano playing, funk grooves and rock beats to give the E.P. a feel of power and energy.

The four tracks are self-penned each one slightly different, opening with Motown sound full of up-tempo vibes suiting the title Happiest Man Alive that gets you in the mood to listen to the whole E.P. with the guitar courtesy of Dan himself melding into the vocal phrasing. This is a mini selection that doesn’t skimp on musical depth and variety of tones. Accompanying the soulful and meaningful vocals of Dan are a plethora of musicians, the rhythm section comprises Martyn Swain on bass and drums provided by Ed Dennis or Jason Odle, guitar is stylish and accomplished from Miles Gilerdale on More Than You Deserve  and then we have Frank Mizen adding horns to the mix and with Lucy adding her vocals to the backdrop we have a sound that wraps around you with its soulful funked up blues. The second track grabs your attention with its gentle piano opening and then the drums and vocals crash into the party delivering a soulful beat that encapsulates the heart of the song. The beauty that brass adds to a track is evident on More Than You Deserve, with mixed up tempos and growling guitar this is a track that just flies along hitting your musical hot spot.
Ending the E.P. is a slow blues number, stripped back with Dan going solo on vocals and piano. You’re Gonna Shine what a clairvoyant would say to Dan you will shine if you keep producing music of this caliber when is the album coming out we want to hear more of what you have to offer. The recording and production are stylish giving this all too short offering shape and meaning so that the sound and lingering musical phrases in your head seem greater that the four tracks Dan offers you on E.P.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

1. Happiest Man Alive
2. Before You Go
3. More Than You Deserve
4. You’re Gonna Shine

Dan Burnett – vocals/piano/guitar
Ed Dennis – Drums (track 2 & 3)
Jason Odle – Drums (track 1)
Martyn Swain – Bass
Miles Gilderdale – Guitar (track 3)
Frank Mizen – Horns
Lucy Mizen – Backing vocals (track 2)

CD Review: Jack Hutchinson ~ Band Get It Back

jack hJack Hutchinson Band
Get It Back

No wonder Jack Hutchinson has been included on Blues Magazine’s list of ‘Ones To Watch in 2015’ , on the EP; Jack and the band have a scorching sound that is full of depth, rawness and electric blues. Jack has the all too rare combination of the ability to kick ass with the guitar and have vocals that are powerful and work in harmony with the sound being produced.
The E.P. has six self-penned tracks that are a real tasty introduction to the talents of Jack Hutchinson, his guitar work is full of licks and lead breaks that are long enough to beguile at times leaving you wanting more, but never so long that the guitar becomes tiresome. There are no tracks going spare to fill out the space of a full CD, we have the opportunity to listen to the real Jack how he wants to perform and showcase the band.

The opener Wake Up is a track that once the first note is played makes you sit up listen and take notice with the click of the drum sticks and then into full throttle guitar you are ready to rock long before Jack’s voice joins in and as he sings ‘wake up and smell the roses…’ you know this is an E.P. that means business. This is not a one tempo – one style album as the textures, tones and emphasis change but always the musicianship is the focus of your attention as they are determined to rock your soul. Loving Man is more measured with some great bass from Rick Brazendale, then Jack’s voice full of measured bluesy tones that hits all the right emotions and notes on this slower track, less rocky and shows the purity of the guitar playing. Get It Back is a rocky fast-moving track that gets the adrenalin pumping and sets you in a spin. Too soon the last and longest track is playing Hey Hey Hey; opening with the sounds of the sea on a beach and some gentle acoustic guitar contrasting with the other tracks. This is a different side of talented Jack Hutchinson; a talent to definitely watch out for in 2015, buy the CD and catch him live he will definitely entertain.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD SEVEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

Track Listing

Wake Up
Look In The Mirror
Loving Man
Never Too Late
Get It Back
Hey Hey Hey

Jack Hutchinson: Guitar and Vocals
Rick Brazendale: Bass
Jim Brazendale: Drums
Tom Brundage: Harmonica.