We at Bluesdoodles are no stranger to the talents of Jack J Hutchinson…his work with Ross and Redfern (RHR) is reviewed elsewhere and seriously impressed us. Well, the London based guitarist has a new solo album out called Who Feeds The Wolf and promises an electric and eclectic approach as he vents his anger and sums up the current state of the self-seeking political landscape and humanity’s road to self-destruction. That’s not to say he hasn’t cloaked the seemingly “we’re all doomed, Mr Mainwaring” exploration in some exciting and well crafted musical landscapes to take our minds off Armageddon and life’s cruelties life through the music he has created.
Jack explains the ethos behind the record as… “It’s an angry record. The shit has really hit the fan and we are in a bit of a mess, both politically and environmentally. I guess my response has been to plug in my Marshall stack and turn everything up to 11!!” you can only agree with the sentiment and look forward to the anger, frustration and disbelief showing through that Marshall stack. His personal life also contributes…Jack again: “A lot has changed in my personal life over the last year. My dad, who has always been the biggest supporter of my music, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s just after the sessions began. A lot of the songs kind of deal with that sense of loss. It sounds contrived, but music has been a great healer.” I know the feeling and we here at Bluesdoodles wish you and your father well.
So, what happens when the needle hits the groove? Well, first up is Justified; starting with an enviable blues-rock/rock riff, it develops into a well structured Glenn Hughes style, but without the histrionics, Glenn is so fond of…a great solo backed by the Hammond and spot-on rhythm section make it even better. Haunted Bones is next and a pounding bluesy riff takes us to if you can imagine it, a really heavy Peter Green Mac sort of feel, although the multi-tracked vocal chorus takes it into AOR the Manalishi feel elsewhere and crafted solo is just so good. The subtly titled Kiss Your Ass Goodbye is not about the love and loss of a donkey but, with a neat acoustic intro and breathy vocal, it slowly builds into another solid piece of bluesy rock that is immediate and way better than most of the bands that are feted by the music industry these days. The bridge and the solo are pure quality to lift it even further beyond the competition. I Will Follow You starts with strummed acoustic and develops into a song that Neil Young could have written but with better vocals and variation it is…better! It stays mainly acoustic and, despite the lack of a solo, the clever drum patterns and the bass and keys give it a full sound that (nearly) compensates. Luck Man is rock with a bit more rock thrown in…infectious and inventive with a Purple Mk III feel to the riff and ascending/descending phrases the guitar and Hammond play. Jack is in fine voice again and this is a great song that has a slight commerciality to the choruses but the solo is well structured and keeps the rock to the fore.
Peace Of Mind is slow blues with the electric guitar phrasing echoing the blues base the song has. The electric piano is clever and complimentary as the almost, but not quite, ballad beginning suddenly turns into a rapid rock song that has a chord-based riff that is wrapped neatly by the counterpoint keys. Another solo of true quality lifts the song above the ‘sound familiar’ temptation…simple picked, multi-tracked guitar leads into the solo proper for a fret treat. Roll Another One is heavier from the riff perspective as the staccato approach and vocal build into a song that is sort of Purpley but still unique. Let It Ride is Beatles mixed with Petty as the jangling chords lead to the choruses…this relatively bland song is saved by another intuitive and strong (but short) solo. Autumn Leaves has an acoustic intro that sounds a bit Heepy but it quickly becomes Jack’s own emotion-filled and rather beautiful ballad that the keys expand to echo the pictures the lyrics paint. The electric piano solo comes as a surprise but it is perfectly paced and crafted. Winds Of Change isn’t, mercifully, the whistling arachnids song but Jack’s original weighty rock with the Hammond to the fore and filling the sound behind the riff and vocals.
Sleep, Awake, Obey! Wraps up the album with a Cozy Powell intro before a rolling and rocking riff moves it into a sort of Sabbath do Southern Rock feel that actually works well and the solo is suitably cleverly simple and short. The nigh-on thrash closing section is a surprise but apt and adds another ‘clever’ to my description.
In summary then, here is a skilful and creative guitarist delivering a solid and entertaining rock album that has the blues running through it all. There isn’t a bad song on it and it is a welcome addition to my collection and a further clue, should it be needed, that Jack is at home in so many genres and styles that if you see his name on an album my advice is simple…buy it.
NINEdoodle paws out of TEN …
- Haunted Bones
- Kiss Your Ass Goodbye
- I Will Follow You
- Lucky Man
- Peace of Mind
- Roll Another One
- Let It Ride
- Autumn Leaves
- Winds of Change
- Sleep, Awake, Obey!
Jack J Hutchinson: guitar, vocals
Lazarus Michaelides: bass
Felipe Amorim: drums
Alberto Manuzzi: keyboards
Produced byTony Perretta
(The now traditional “I clicked on the track above this album on iTunes song” this time is a Ritchie Blackmore guest spot on the Jack Green song I Call, No Answer. A damn good song that shows Ritchie’s genius outside of the Purple sound and light years from the pixie boots took over.)