Virgil & The Accelerators
Army Of Three
Mystic Records U.K.
This is the follow-up studio album to Radium and is raw attitude whether it is from Virgil’s power driven guitar playing, rocky vocals or his brother Gabriel on drums or Jack completing the rhythm section.
VATA are an immensely talented and exciting trio of musicians who deliver rock with a generous twist of blues both in the studio and live. This album sees them taking a giant stride forward as the sound matures, especially Virgil’s vocals that are deeper and rougher as they belt out the lyrics across the full sound of music. Army Of Three is a rock album where the talented producer Chris Tsangarides has managed to bring tonal texture into the sound being produced with repetition creating an anthem like chant that you can hear the audience already joining in followed by a swizzle of guitar and then the use of a pause giving everyone time to reflect this approach as is dramatically used on Blow to the Head with a delay of silence before the following.
The album works in the round and individual tracks are all strong, Love Aggression starts with a gentle and mellow guitar sound with the gentle rhythmic drumming joining in, and Virgil sings in an almost crooner approach to the vocals that work this then opens up as the chorus adds another layer of this passive-aggressive confessional song. Then it is back with a rock anthem on Give It Up full of thumping drums that are hit with a force that sends the vibrations through the whole track – this is deep dirty relating to something deep in the dark side of your soul.
This is an album of transition the rock is winning and Virgil’s vocals work better on some tracks than others where it is stretched, there can be no argument that this is an album full of quality musicianship and Virgil gets out of six-strings a range of sounds that show his dexterity and imagination.
They are more rock that blues but they deliver a sound that is addictive and will hit all the right spots for anyone looking for a young band that wants to play their music loud and in your face with an energetic sound that is about the collective talents rather than just showcasing the swirling guitar licks and riffs from Virgil. They are as the album says an Army of Three who rock and will be an enjoyable addition to any collection that has a bias towards rocking Through the Night, as they sing on the album.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD SEVEN doodle paws out of TEN ….
Take Me Higher
Blow To the Head
All Night Long
Give It Up
Through The Night
Virgil McMahon – Lead Guitars & Vocals
Gabriel McMahon – Drums, Harmonica and Backing Vocals
Jack Alexander Timms – Bass and Backing Vocals
Mike Zito has created a deeply personal album full of thoughtful lyrics and considered skilful guitar playing and his delicious and distinctive vocals a holy trio of skills, lyricist, vocalist and guitarist an amazing depth of skills that have been delivered consistently throughout Gone To Texas his fourth album.
We have Sonny Landreth adding a sonic layer with his swampy slide, on Rainbow Bridge, referring to a spanning bridge near Port Arthur Texas and an upbeat temp that drives the lyrics along.
Death Row has a dark tone with a stripped down approach, Mike’s vocals are gruff with held-in emotions and the percussive drumming from Rob Lee is the perfect accompaniment to the acoustic (is it a National steel) guitar sound produced, it is a song that you are strangely drawn, as with many of the greats of early Delta blues, into as you find hidden nuggets in the lyrics that are full of regret and the acceptance that there is “ No-one to blame…”
The following song with it’s amusing lyrics Don’t Break A Leg lightens the proceedings with a Blues/Funk Jazz sound with the mixing of Lewis Stephen’s Keys, Jimmy Carpenter’s Sax and Scot Sutherland’s Bass with Zito’s guitar adding instrumental interlude that is pitch perfect and the production by Mike Zito is classy as there is just enough and then the vocals cut in giving this instrument dominated track shape and soul.
On the following track Mike is joined by Delbert McClinton, The Road Never Ends, and has an energy that wakes you up this is a journey that grabs you by the throat and Delbert’s harmonica playing adds that feeling that the journey is not the easiest and goes round and round this is a maze of a trip.
Gone To Texas is a personal pilgrimage of a blues-man who has the winning combination strong vocals and on his Fender Stratocaster he is master of the six-strings.
It is good to hear a blues album by a guitarist that allows the voice to be king of the show and using the guitar brilliantly as the glue that holds the instrumentation together and drives the music along, in an unusual minimalistic cut down style this is not about the power of the guitar but its soul.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….
Mike Zito – Guitar & Vocals
Jimmy Carpenter – Sax & Guitars
Rob Lee – Drums
Scot Sutherland – Bass
Delbert McClinton – Harmonica & Vocals
Susan Cowsill – Vocals
Sonny Landreth – Guitar
Lewis Stephen – Keyboards
Local band Glas were supporting tonight with their take on R&B rollickin’ blues getting the evening off to a great start. The bass and vocalist ensured that every song was lead from the front and the excellent licks and riffs added by James Oliver on guitar gave the band a depth of sound as demonstrated on ‘Dust My Broom‘ loved the slide work by James; warming everyone up for the main act Larry Miller.
Larry Miller and the band stormed onto the stage of The Globe, and struck up rocking blues that put everyone in a good mood, as like a charging bull full of controlled aggression he set the music going with ‘In My Own Backyard‘. This is very much in-your-face blues/rock by one of it’s finest exponents and most importantly the crowds loved every clarion note played on his guitar. Larry was in-tune with his guitars tonight whether the track called for his Gibson Les Paul, Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster which he then used with a mighty force when delivering lengthy, scintillating lead breaks with the Miller signature bending of the notes on every chord and lick. He can only have this freedom of expression out front whether through vocals or his six-strings because of the solid, confident rhythm section of Derek White on bass with whom Larry ahs a true empathetic understanding on drums Graham Walker who is spot on the money whatever tricks Larry throws into his distinctive live sound.
The end result is one of the most entertaining blues/rock trios on the circuit as they delivered tracks from previous releases including Calling All the Angels with its change of tempo for a classic Larry rendition of a slow blues number, definitely one of Bluesdoodles favourites. We had lots of banter that engages the crowd and gives the show real entertainment value as he delivered Rory Gallagher’s, Walk On Hot Coals showing the roots of some of Larry’s influences to perfection.
Then we were treated amongst the songs we love to hear delivered by Larry, and a track from his New Album Soldier Of The Line, Mississippi Mama being released on 24th November with album launch at the Jazz Cafe, Camden, London on Sunday 23rd November. A great bluesy rock number in the Miller tradition with some hefty chords that grabs your attention looking forward to listening to the whole album.
Larry came to Cardiff entertained had people dancing, laughing and foot tapping along to quality live music he is infectious, no break for the band tonight so no solo set with Larry and his national then all too soon the show was over, but not before an encore of the Larry favourite Delilah.
Grainne Duffy and her band are on a perpetual tour but tonight was a continuation of their ‘Reason To Be’ Tour; starting off in Wales then dates in England, Wales and Scotland before heading off to Europe from 6th October which, with an expectant crowd, created an atmosphere which got this leg of the tour off to a cracking start.
As ever Grainne hit the ground running with a powerful opening number from her latest album Test Of Time; ‘Let Me In‘; this band knows how to make a statement with a combination of talent, style and a fluidity in the music created that can only be achieved with a band in which all the members are delighted to be once again on stage and playing the music they love. This is a band that have played together for several years and it shows in the almost telepathic understanding they have between them creating that smooth rhythm and layers of sound that mesh and meld together giving the music an edge and timing that is immaculate. It is Grainne though, with her distinctive voice and guitar style, that is the Royal Icing that makes this a harmonious band a mixture of sweet and sour, lyrical and rocking. It is so easy to compare Grainne with Bonnie Raitt and it easy to see why but this does not portray the real Grainne who has her own style and take on every track she does and no more demonstrated in her rendition of I’d Rather Go Blind which she has made into her own song as a signature offering every attendee at a live show wants to hear. We were treated to a music overload of one quality track after another as the set list below shows with a selection of tracks from her début album Out Of The Dark and her latest acclaimed offering Test Of Time. Her empathy on stage is sublime with all the band members especially for tonight her right-hand man Paul Sherry on lead guitar is simply awe-inspiring and mesmerising to watch and hear; Grainne’s Les Paul and his Strat complementing each other chord for chord this is no competition but two fabulous musicians getting the best out of each other’s performance.
There is no doubt that this is a band that just keeps getting better as they set the bar higher and higher with every performance and crack the challenge they set themselves every-time. After a short break they leaped back on stage full of vim and vigour and Grainne’s guitar playing was firing on all six-strings. Highlight if there can be one of this set was ‘Sweet Sweet Baby’, with its fusion of blues and reggae, a really great delivery of bleggae led from the back by some pin sharp cracking reggae drum bits delivered by Eamann Ferras and complimented by some bass from Davy Watson, this was bass and drums Grainne’s way.
All to soon they were leaving the stage, but quickly they returned to meet the genuine demand for an Encore and they willingly obliged. With the fading of the last notes from the title track of her latest album Test of Time the whole audience including the self-proclaimed “Duffettes” – dancing at the back of the ballroom were more than satisfied tonight; they would have liked the band to have played on.
Lead Vocals & Guitar – Grainne Duffy
Drums & Backing Vocals – Eamann Ferras
Guitar & Backing Vocals – Paul Sherry
Bass & Backing Vocals – Davy Watson
Let Me In
What Am I Supposed To Do
Each and Everytime
Drivin Me Crazy
Be Just Fine
Don’t Know Why
Reason To Be
Fallin’ For You
Love Me Like A Man
Times Not Enough
Sweet Sweet Baby
Rockin’ Rollin’ Stone
I’d Rather Go Blind
Bad To Worse
JJ Grey & Mofro opening for
Phil Lesh’s – Terrapin Family Band
Brooklyn Bowl, London – 30 July 2015
The venue adjacent to the entrance of the O2 arena and under the structure of the Millennium Dome, Brooklyn Bowl is becoming the favoured venue for American bands playing London gigs. This is a venue where you can eat, drink, play bowls and listen to live music in the same space. The bowling continues as the musicians play so occasionally you have an out of beat staccato of a bowling ball hitting the pins. Though tonight all the strikes were definitely from the stage as both sets were delivered up tempo and full of energetic live music. JJ Grey accompanied by his latest Mofro tonight ripped up the stage with his unique blending of sounds to bring together a harmonic cocktail that is shaken into a smooth blend with an edge as soul, roots, jazz and blues pour across the stage and weaves its magic throughout the Brooklyn Bowl. JJ Grey leads from the front with his vocals full of passion and a love of life, creating freedom that the band builds on that despite his efforts he never catches them out as they are beat perfect. The trumpet playing from Dennis Marion is stunning adding a layer of sound of a horn section augmented by stylish saxophone playing by Art Edmaiston. Into the mix is Andrew Trube a Stetson toting guitar player who stayed cool throughout the show, with Anthony Farrell on Hammond and keys providing a perfect foil to JJ Grey’s voice that soars above the band and ensuring that there is a structure and anarchy does not take over is a snazzy rhythm section of Todd Smallie on bass and the percussive drumming from Anthony ‘AC’ Farrell.
This is a band that wants to entertain you, and that they do from the off the quality is high and unbelievably as the set moves on with changes in tempo the music keeps getting better, you just have to love this foot stomping sound. JJ Grey played the music people had come to hear in a set that was a warm up for Phil Lesh and The Terrapin Family, was only and hour too short but great to hear him back in U.K. The set included The Sweetest Thing; This River; Orange Blossoms and Slow Hot Sweaty, we heard JJ on guitar, tambourine and keys but tonight the harmonica remained silent, so we say come back soon and tour outside of London so more people get the opportunity to hear this formidable live sound.
After a break, time for a quick game of bowls and refresh your drink the main act stepped on to the stage to be greeted by a roar from the fans now crushed in front of the stage, with many wearing brightly coloured Grateful Dead T-shirts, Phil Lesh was greeted as the conquering bass player before a note was struck. The Deadheads were in seventh heaven as they stood in front of one of their hero’s and the set list included many of the tracks they wanted to hear, and could compare with previous live renditions from the night before and back through the Grateful Dead’s considerable number of live performances. Tonight at the Brooklyn Bowl the music was played with authenticity and close your eyes and you could imagine yourself back at a Grateful Dead gig.
Phil Lesh was master of the event leading with his sublime bass playing on a mean black six string; he has now been playing for sixteen years with friends who change but his playing is the constant that keeps the music alive. The Terrapin Family is not a tribute band to Grateful Dead as into the mix of classics are unusual covers, and original music into the set; keeping the sound fresh and exciting for today’s audience. The interplay between the musicians for me created a wall of sound that was full of a nuanced beat that made you feel good as the two guitarists licks and riffs played off each other this was not a competition of who could play louder faster add in more notes, it was two different styles and approaches enhancing each other creating a whole sound, Ross James and Grahame Lesh both took turns as lead and rhythm guitar and moving in and out throughout a track. The Terrapin Family is a band that plays like life is one great fun-time jam; as they deliver track after track of what is best about live music the excitement being you are never sure what is coming next. The band deliver a complex mix of musical tone, texture and shapes that refuses to be trapped into a time warp of any particular style or genre. Emily Sunderland adds her fantastic vocals into this mix tonight on two tracks, alongside Ross James one of the guitars tonight on West LA Fade Away from the Grateful Dead’s In The Dark album and solo on the wonderful cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman. One of the drummers Alex Koford who played exceptionally well throughout the night also had a fantastic voice and the version of Band On the Run’s McCartney number Let It Be was something special; also beefing up the rhythm section was Jordan Levine on the second drum kit. To this mix Scott Padden added the sound of keyboards and Hammond organ so that the tapestry of sound was complete. We also heard originals with the lyrics written and sung by Ross James, demonstrating this is a band that is full of surprises and is creating music that moves the music on keeping it fresh and relevant.
Tonight five of the bands added their voices above the instruments to bring the songs to life with meaning and emotion with Phil Lesh combining intricate bass guitar with his voice on tracks such as Viola Lee Blues and his son Grahame on Turnaround. The encore was an impressive five tracks four of which were from Blues For Allah and left the audience wanting more but sadly the lights came up and the show was over till another time. Phil Lesh and The Terrapin Family, multi-task and deliver quality, they are fun to watch a delight to listen to, the band definitely came, played and conquered The Brooklyn Bowl in London tonight.
Blues is often said to be whisky driven, for me this is an album fuelled by quality gin not moonshine, but one of Gin, the spirit flavoured with hints and whispers of various botanical flavours with the key flavour juniper that tease and test your taste buds. Influence does the same for your ear and tests the hearing skills as you find and identify the influences from genres and guitarists including Rock, Rock n’ Roll, Psychedelia, Heavy, guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan Jeff Healey and others the overall influence is the blues of every shade and tone this album is an aural teaser. Every track is different with a balanced mix of divine originals and instinctual covers that take you to a place that is musical and spiritual; they hit that musical nerve at the bass of your spine and send tingles and shivers of delight throughout creating a feeling of oneness with the music.
The opening track Tom Devil, is full of six-string mastery creating a swampy humid riff that drives this heavy moody psychedelic blues, setting the scene for a Sayce album that has a lot to say and refuses to follow a pre-ordained approved pattern for the blues. This is free fall blues and I love it.
The re-arrangement of Little Richard’s Green Power, this is a gem of a classic that really deserves this outing and has a live feel reflecting what producer Dave Cobb said on the second try ‘that’s a take’… and Green Power is certainly a track you return to. Another cover that has been cleverly drawn back in to the light and our consciences is David Nash’s Better Days which displays his vocal skills with a guitar sound which is purer allowing the voice to shine; reflecting that you have to keep on trying you have to do the ground work to get to the next level, this is the album where Sayce has stepped onto the next level. Evil Women is full of guitar vibrations as the chords pick up and then his voice full of vexed hurt that works with a really grinding set of guitar riffs that reflect the underlying evil as he says “She is full of spite”. Want a change of tempo well Sailin’ Shoes is a brighter sound that gets your feet tapping and has a great chorus line if you feel like singing along, this is a catchy guitar tune that should be getting mainstream airplay; you recognise it well this Lowell George number was recorded by Little Feat.
The longest title and the most traditionally bluesy track on this heavily blues influenced album is Blues Ain’t Nothing But A Good Woman On Your Mind – yes Salt in my coffee and black pepper in my bread… from 1969 Don Covay & Lemon Blues band in 1969 another clever and unusual cover given a Sayce airing for the 21st century.
The album is aptly named Influence, because this is an album full of difference and that makes it such a fun and interesting listen you do not want to miss a note, a guitar lick that twists and turns and takes you to a different place,
Philip Sayce is playing at the top of his game on this album. He certainly achieved his goal when Sayce says “My intention is to move away from ‘flavour of the month ‘ and to reconnect with the spirit” this album will influence your listening for a long time to come.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of TEN doodle paws a doodle rating of
In its 23rd year Blues on the Farm have again bought bands from across the Atlantic; sadly Saturday’s headline Dana Fuchs had to pull out at the last moment due to family illness, we can just keep our fingers crossed that Dana will grace the stage in 2015; many of us were looking forward to hearing her perform live tracks from her stunning album Bliss Avenue.
Blues on The Farm 2014 had four acts from the U.S.A and three appeared on the Friday all were different bring their own stylish brand of music.
This year first up who included a stop of at the festival on her current tour was the effervescent Lisa Mills with Worcestershire born Ian Jennings on Double bass making this a duo delivering a little bit country, ballads and blues and cracking music bringing even more sunshine to a hot Saturday in June. Lisa has a fantastic voice that brings colour, light and emotions to every lyric she sings, with guitar in hand named Jezebel the sound is complimented by Ian’s stylish playing adding a depth of sound that makes this duo a winning and popular combination. Initially inside the marque was sparsely filled as festival goer sat in the June sunshine but as the voice radiated across the grounds people were drawn to the music and the powerful vocal range of Lisa’s voice. The set included request of I’m Changing’ from her many fans delighted to see her again, and reminding us why we like this duo. All the numbers were delivered with passion and feeling as Lisa linked the songs with stories that ensured everyone warmed to her and felt she was singing to them articulating feelings many have/are experiencing. You can be certain that this duo deliver every time sparing no energy for the next time they perform with energy and gusto that brings a feel good feeling to the occasion. Lisa sang two of my favourites from her last album Tempered with Fire, Keep on Smiling that had a great interactive instrumental interlude, with Ian mastering that oft illusive musical skill using silence to highlight specific notes and I Never Fall In Love Again with its boogie woogie feel , the style of music Ian loves to play with some superb slap bass and a virtuoso solo.
I can remember hearing her with a full band and that was very special so be good to see her back next time in this format; there is no doubt that Lisa can write a great country blues ballad about love lost and regained; it would ring the changes if the songs really stretched her melodious voice and crossed over to deliver some gospel/soul numbers to and even greater depth of tempo and sound. That said the crowds loved her and Ian just as she is and will no doubt be filling venues across the country this summer and we are all waiting in anticipation of her new album new remixed version of the I’m Changing – release date will be soon so watch for the announcement.
Hamilton Loomis with his stellar line-up in the band of Armando Aussenac (Drums) born in Mexico City, Fabian Hernandez (Saxes, Keys, Background Vocals) a Texan from Dallas and Dante Ware (Bass, Background Vocals) born in Trenton N.J Opening the early evening slot with Partner In Crime the festival was full of the distinctive Hamilton style that feels the festival ground with a feeling of well-being. Tonight was no different as he delivered a very potent set of raunchy Texan blues This is a band that is so tight from the second perfect use of stopping and starting to the in time body swaying of Hamilton , Dante and Fabian; this is not rehearsed choreography but a feel of the music and the accentuation of a style Hamilton has always has, it works so well as their bodies move and stop in harmony matching the flow and syncopation of the music and real stage show that hits all the right spots. The set was professional, fun and interactive as Hamilton took the opportunity to display all the intricate musical shapes on his latest album Give It Back; including a dynamic live version of Eternally; Stuck In a Rut; that this line-up is definitely not with the rhythm section providing so much more than a solid foundation for Hamilton’s guitar playing out front, they add little licks and drum rolls that bring the music alive; then the other layer of sound that Fabian brings either on saxophone or keys, this line-up works so well making the sound fully with a bit more attitude. As ever Hamilton delighted everyone by jumping off the stage into the crowd during Bow Bow as he toured the marque getting up close and personal, left to their own devises the boys on the stage filled in with little quirky melodies turning Bow Bow into an exciting musical spectacular that every festival needs; and for me this is the best I have heard Hamilton Loomis play at any British Festival.
Friday’s Headline act were Royal Southern Brotherhood, see review Headlines @ Blues on the Farm.. This is a band that came, played and left a base of British fans who now have the essence off the band distilled into their musical blood and will be making every effort to see them again and enjoy listening to the music courtesy of the music they purchased whether the bands latest heartsoulblood or Cyril Neville’s Honey Magic; Devon Allman’s solo album Turquoise, Mike Zito and The Wheel, Charlie Wooton Project or Yonrinco Scotts’ Quest of The Big Drum…………
Now it is Sunday late afternoon, the sun has shone over the festival every day and now taking the stage are Moreland and Arbuckle; as they hit the stage and struck their first chords the volume had gone up you knew this was a high-voltage trio from across the pond! Formed in 2001 guitarist Aaron Moreland and vocalist/blues harp player Dustin Arbuckle met in Wichita, Kansas and quickly formed an acoustic duo playing traditional and delta blues today they are joined by drummer Kendall Newby which makes for a harder sound with the added depth of a solid back line.
They delivered a dynamic mix of standards and self-penned numbers; including Rollin’ and Tumblin’ which the trio have made their own with a stylish delivery. They have created out of the bedrock of rootsy sound that has blended and melded blues, Southern rock with more than a twist of Psychedelia and then into the musical cocktail traces of styles including soul and echoes of quality music from across time. This is a distinctive sound that makes them instantly recognisable. As they delivered tracks from their latest album 7 Cities, the sound just meant there was a queue to purchase the CD and take some southern magic home with you. There is no doubt about it Kow Tow and The Devil Me together helped album sales!and and the festival crowds got closer as they were pulled into the groove being created and dancing shoes were to the fore. The harp riffs that soar above the guitar have to be listened to and then there is the cigar box with its own distinctive sound with incorporation of the bass string that really suits the guitar style of Aaron Moreland. Just a Dream was driven by hardcore rhythm allowing Arbuckle’s vocals and harp playing take centre stage.
What a quartet Julian Mores and his team have assembled for 2014 all the acts were throughly enjoyed by the Blues on the Farm festival goers.
Heartsoulblood is an album full energy and verve as they fuse together a maelstrom of styles rock, blues, soul and then they add to the mix some southern style magic dust that this collective of talented musicians all bring to the party. Heart, soul and blood are three of the ingredients that make this album stand out from the crowd with the clever combinations of sounds achieved by the powerful rhythm section that lock horns and drive the beat with Yonrico Scott and Charlie Wooton drum and bass what a musical duo for any band to have. Then the layers of sound are built up with Cyril Neville’s vocal and percussive talents and then the two guitarists with their own distinctive styles, Mike Zito and Devon Allman who brings to the party his mellow vocals as well. This is a group that works because they play off each other allowing talent and difference shine through so that they build in each track a tapestry full of texture and tones. ‘Groove On’ builds on the licks and musicality of ‘Key Lime Pie’ from Devon’s album Turquoise so that it feels familiar but also completely new. ‘Here It Is’ has a strong opening bass-line from Charlie that is full of moody swampy funky sound-scape that pulls you into this clever track with Cyril’s vocals adding that extra meaning. ‘Callous’ is full of soul and blues lyrics this is a track that never rushes and uses space so well creating the space for the lyrics to tell the tale; at times there feels something familiar as if you know it already fleetingly it reminds me of Beatles ‘Come Together’. HeartSoulblood is full of changing contours and shapes. Jim Gaines production and David Z’s engineering skills ensure that there is never an overload of emotions or overkill of the instruments everything is melded to cook up the perfect musical banquet. ‘Ritual’ is full of mysticism and is a dirty sounding Texan groove given a swampy treatment by RSB. The stand out track for me is ‘Takes A Village’, with the combination of Cyril’s Bongo Drums opening vocals and the lyrics this is powerful music. The album is full of charisma and refuses to be boxed into a genre this is five musicians delivering music they love with passion so there are tracks that spark and hit the spot others float by like a slow flowing stream on a hot summers evening, this is 12 tracks of music delivered by a group that is simply superb.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of TEN doodle paws a doodle rating of
Album Listing :-
Rock And Roll
Here It Is
She’s My Lady
Takes A Village
Love and Peace
Ruf Records Brings You Behind the Scenes of “heartsoulblood” with The Royal Southern Brotherhood in this special…
Second albums like follow-up novels can be problematic, King King definitely have climbed the mountain and hit the ground running with the opening track ‘More Than I Can Take’ and definitely are not Standing in The Shadows of the last album. This is an album produced with empathy so that the live sound that is integral to King King is retained. It is the sharpening refining all the talent that Alan Nimmo brings to the party with his soulful voice that melts your resistance and draws you into the music delivered by his blistering guitar work. The long low bass line that is Lindsay Coulson, who co-writes many of the tracks with Alan, combined with Wayne Procter on drums who allow alsn’s talents are to blossom and shine through. This trio produces a wonderful sound but King King are not complete without the funky passionate, sometimes manic, keyboard style of the effervescent Bennett Holland. The four members intermesh the sound to build layers, but it is the lyrics and Alan’s vocals that are king.
This is an album that showcases every track, I was hooked from the first track with its rhythm driven top line with a twist of funk and a whole basket of music ‘More Than I can Take’ is a perfectly formed number that introduces the listener to all the talents of this award winning band. There is confidence in the lyrics, with the soulful emotional remorse of ‘Taken What’s Mine’ where Alan’s superlative guitar work in a master class of a guitar solo. Change of tempo with a seven minute version of ‘A Long History of Love’, the journey is of love’s trials and tribulations making “…him a better man somehow…”, Bennett Holland’s keyboards add that mournful drive that moves the song along and a beautiful duo between guitar and keyboards makes this track stand out and shine so that despite its length you want it to go on so we have a happy ending to the journey. The two covers on the album bring the King King magic to fellow Scotsman Frankie Miller’s ‘Jealousy’ that is full of torment emotions the vocals drip with raw emotions that touch the soul. The second cover, Free’s ‘Heavy Load’, wow what a soulful rendition of the excellent Paul Rogers’ lyrics you are left hanging on to the notes as the piano fades away. Then the tempo picks up with a lighter track ‘Let Love In’ full of positivity and the lyrics are full of promise and the guitar playing open and free as your feet start tapping, great way of ending this emotionally charged album. Every track on Standing In The Shadows is a measure of the depth of true talent that is King King the sound is distinctive and approach to each song is undeniably emotionally bound up with the lyrics, the instruments then reflect back the emotion building the tension and keeping you entranced. Looking forward to album number 3 as Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of TEN doodle paws a doodle rating of
Well Hung Heart
Go Forth and Multiply
Out May 5th sn GROWvision Records
Having seen Well Hung Heart, live at The Globe in Cardiff as part of The Hoax current tour I was more than a tad excited to be listening to the album – I had high expectations as I loaded the album, thankfully I was not disappointed. The opening track was straight in at a ripping rocky pace the title is ‘Big Plans’ and the album certainly has big plans when it comes to musicality and style. There can be no argument Well Hung Heart are avant-garde, delivering a live sound with minimal over-dubbing, that melds and welds together a full plectrum of sounds that can be plucked and strummed out of a guitar.
This is a whirlwind of genres swirled together, punk, grunge, rock and underpinning deep in the undergrowth of sound is the blues, not as anyone would instantly recognise but there is no doubt Robin has incorporated blues guitar into this eclectic mix. This is a band that refuses to be encapsulated in aspic but runs free to deliver music they love and want you to enjoy the journey with them. It is at times unbelievable that this is a trio the sound they produce reminds me of stadia rock and at times early ZZ top. The band is Californian based with Greta Valenti with her powerful vocals that can change from raunchy, belting out rock and then deliver the gentlest softest lyric, she has a wonderful range full of tones and complexities; at times reminding me of Bjork and Siouxsie from the Banshees. Mix this with the skills and deft touch of Robin Davey (The Hoax) playing both bass and lead guitar you have a powerful mix of musical skills and understanding of how to deliver an interesting sound with perfect timing and control. Joining the party as drummer is Phil Wilson who adds that driving dimension of beat perfect timing and delightful backing vocals adding another layer of sound. Every one of the eleven tracks are gems in their own right the vocals on ‘Made For Leaving’ are full of yearning with artful use of soul in the voice that is accompanied by gentle but persistent drumming, the tempo fills out as Robin joins in with some delightful guitar work such a contrast and unexpected it is almost a ballad. The feeling of anger, rebellion and protestation is bubbling underneath many of the tracks but comes to boiling point in ‘Rehab is for Rich Kids’! If John Peel was alive surely this would be part of his current play-list, musically complete, different and above all true to the artistry of the musicians who are Well Hung Heart. This may not be the Blues! but Go Forth and Multiply is an album of today full of relevant undertones and is cracking music and is addictive always a measure of a cracking album.
Greta Valenti – Vocals, Keys, Lyrics, and melodies
Robin Davey – Guitars, Bass, and Riffs
Phil Wilson – Drums, percussion, and backing vocals
Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of five doodle paws a doodle rating of
There is still time to catch them perform live and buy the CD