Helping The Achievers to Rise to the Challenge – Following their success in the UKBlues Federation 2109 Challenge. Check out the Crowdfunding set up to send the band to Memphis and Zanndam near Amsterdam – the awards are so exciting
British blues and roots band, The Achievers are no strangers here at Bluesdoodles…their debut album, Live At The SVA is reviewed here as is a lovely interview with Liz, and we followed their nomination and eventual triumph as they progressed through the various stages of the UK Blues Challenge. They were worthy winners and celebrate that success with a new album recorded live in the studio called The Lost Arc. They are also crowdfunding their next steps and are looking for help to make the journey to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis and the European Blues Challenge in Amsterdam…both of these events are in early 2020 so if you can spare a few quid, give them a boost and get some tasty extras for your money and support. Both album covers are worth a mention too with their caricature style portraits especially as one of the guys looks a lot like a certain Roger Glover…have a look! And if you fancy a similar caricature of yourself, that is one of the many options.
If you don’t feel like checking the links, then a quick summary…The Achievers’ Steve Ferbrache began his musical journey by busking around New York, Boston and Philadelphia and then spent time immersed in the London Blues & Roots scene (where he opened for James Hunter, Seasick Steve and others). In 2013, chance meetings, in an open mic night in a pub, with drummer Aron Attwood and Harmonica player Rufus Fry led to the formation of the band. Now based in Gloucestershire they are influenced mainly by 50s and 60s American Rhythm and Blues and Gospel vocal groups such as The Dixie Hummingbirds there is still a distinctly British feel to their output due to their ability to also inject a little soul into their boogie-woogie approach. In fact, their music will take you back to the early 60s when dance halls across the UK reverberated to real Rhythm and Blues.
I just had to include one line from the Press Release: “The Lost Arc is an unashamedly positive message of good news and truth – the gospel for the godless and a humanist hymnal for modern times”. This does go part of the way to describing the blend of blues, soul, gospel and R’n’B on this new album. The running order on the press release differs from the review copy but I will go with the PR listing: opener, Spirit, is harp led blues of the highest order and the riff when the band join in is just great…they have used that blues backing and put gospel harmonies over it…and it works and will draw you in. The highlight, inevitably, for me is the harp/slide duet that builds the gospel feel brilliant. Easy Line moves us into pure 60s R’n’B with a gospel chorus…this is another track that is infectious and keeps your attention even if it isn’t your normal fare. Careful Sabrina has me imagining things concerning Melissa Joan Hart…but then that will just be me! This track is a brilliant blast of rock and roll with a neat riff and it is crafted so well with a rolling gait to it that is guaranteed to get you on the dance floor. I was left wanting,, however, as I felt sure we’d get a guitar solo of skill and variation that Steve is so capable of: instead I had to listen to his clever phrases behind each vocal line. Qualities is soulful jazz/blues with the bass and drums serving a delightfully clever rhythm that brings a Latin touch too. I love the feel that this conveys especially when we get a far too short tasteful guitar solo.
Good News is just that… a rapid romp around the countrified gospel blues mixed with a dollop of R’nR that works so well that the dance floor is calling again; although I doubt I keep that pace up for long! Turnaround keeps the pleasant surprises flowing as we get a funky soul 60s song with staccato chords over a complex backline. The subtle harp soloing over the guitar chords is a delight and the studio ‘chat’ at the end further shows the fun and humour that this album is steeped in.. Ever Lovin’ Mess changes the game again as the bass lays down a very “Boardwalk” feel before the band join in and build it into another 60s slice of R’n’B with a modern twist, especially in the lyrical references. A sudden up an ace with a harp solo see to the end of a nifty song and then, hallelujah, a guitar section that is pure rock perfection… more next time, please! The Load is Beach Boys crossed with the Beatles and added gospel choruses and a rapid dénouement that is fresh out of the travelling preacher’s tent…strange, true and damnably effective. No One Remembers is back to rock and roll with blues phrasing and a great chorus to sing along to. The final track, See Me Back Jesus, is a Tom Petty guitar structure with an unsurprising gospel verse and chorus patterns. A harp solo adds to the lilt of the rhythms and the false ending keeps the interest levels high.
Although all of the tracks have very distinct roots in the past, the modern edge that The Achievers bring to every note make it the same but so very different… and that takes real skill. This is a brilliant evocation of an era that so many of us hold dear and the music this band have put together is a blast from first to last. No, this isn’t my normal ‘go-to’ music but it is so infectious and engaging that it more than welcome in my collection and I would stake a lot on them being simply genius live so put on your dancing shoes and seek ‘em out.
(The iTunes run on track this time delivered a serving of the wonder that is the criminally underappreciated band, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell (yes, really) with Do It Now from their heavy/psychedelic/blues/rock blended album Check ‘Em Before You Wreck ‘Em…simply genius: seek them out for superb and different rock music for all genres.)
- Easy Line
- Careful Sabrina
- Good News Turnaround
- Ever Lovin’ Mess
- The Load
- No One Remembers
- See Me Back Jesus
All tracks written by The Achievers
NINEdoodle paws out of TEN …
Helping The Achievers to Rise to the Challenge – Following their success in the UKBlues Federation 2109 Challenge. Check out the Crowdfunding set up to send the band to Memphis and Zanndam near Amsterdam– the awards are so exciting