STYLE: Blues RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 153951-22736 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
Once in a while, a release from a previously unheard-of artist comes out of nowhere and hits you right between the eyes and one such release is the debut album from Dundee-born bluesman Simon Kennedy. Describing his own sound as gospel-tinged, funky and guitar-led, Kennedy has pulled together a stellar band including his co-producer Mirek Hodun on Hammond and one time Jamie Cullum drummer Carl Taylor and, if the combined talents of all involved were not enough, the inclusion of a top notch brass section seals the deal on this enthralling release. Tracks like the defiant "Don't Let Them Turn You Around" helps Kennedy set out his stall for an album of faith-related blues numbers that will appeal to believer and non-believer alike whilst songs like "I Ain't Opening The Door" and "Hands On The Wheel" intriguingly leave meanings open to interpretation. Undoubtedly, Kennedy's lead guitar work is the star of the show as the guitar teacher, producer and session musician pulls incredible solo after incredible solo out of the bag in the likes of "End Of The Sunrise" and the funk-laden title track and, whilst the influence of axe heroes such as Robben Ford, Gary Moore and Freddie King are evident, Kennedy refreshingly maintains a playing style and identity all of his own. Of the many great tracks on this highly accomplished blues release, a highlight is the Chicago blues exposé "Lord I Pray" which not only references the B B King reading of the blues stalwart "Everyday I Have The Blues" but also sums up the Simon Kennedy Band's innate ability to turn out something really rather special.
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