True to the spirit of power trios of the sixties, Dylan Wickens & The Grand Naturals immediately grab the listener by the ears with their unapologetic take on the blues, by choosing to colour outside the lines with fuzzed up guitars and bass and melodic, hook-heavy vocal lines. Raw, real, modern and traditional; it’s that paradox which defines the sound of these three world-class musicians that have come together to record the aptly titled, Hi Lo-Fi. Released on May 6, 2016, Hi Lo-Fi has been getting positive reviews from critics around the world and extensive airplay throughout Canada.
Here’s what some of the reviewers are saying about Hi Lo-Fi
“Canadian guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Wickens presides over a tough and tasty trio sound, his blues chops melding well with his songwriting smarts. The overall vibe here smacks strongly of classic British blues and Mr. Wickens’ vocals frequently evoke a Cream-era Jack Bruce. Axework is varied and solid throughout and the song list sports airplay-worthy tracks including “Rock Bottom”, “Foolish Heart” and “Fall Apart”. – The Roots Music Report
“…a varied collection which demonstrates well the tricky art of blues power trio playing, maintaining energy without relying on out-and-out volume. Wickens’s soulful vocal impresses across all eleven tracks, on occasions its anxious edge reminiscent of Paul Rodgers.” – Blues and More Again
“Hi Lo-Fi, the wonderfully bluesy sophomore release from Dylan Wickens and The Grand Naturals is a delightful listen…This is an album I could listen to all day long. Hi Lo-Fi is a sure-fire winner.” – Phillycheeze’s Rock and Blues Reviews
Their debut recording Tattoo Black was released in 2010 to critical acclaim and extensive airplay on commercial and campus radio, CBC, Stingray and blues programs, quickly establishing themselves as one of the most original and exciting bands in the genre. Featuring Dylan Wickens on guitars and vocals, Al Webster (Jeff Healey, Colin James, Long John Baldry) on drums, and Dennis Pinhorn (Downchild, Danny Brooks, The Last Waltz Tribute) on bass, this trio has created an album that is tremendous in sound and quality. Wickens’ guitar work transitions between visceral, stinging slide and soulful blues/rock with the combination of the two helping to define the band’s sound as both raw and real but contemplative, while his vocals are gritty and fervent with a “Clapton like growl and urgency” (Blinded By Sound). As a songwriter, Wickens composes well crafted and meaningful songs that often have a melodic twist at the end – a nod to the freestyle playing of 60s power trios.
In addition to Wickens’ guitar prowess, bassist Dennis Pinhorn locks in the grooves with his thunderous, fuzzed out Fender bass while drummer Al Webster holds it all together with subtle yet powerful drumming, choosing his moments to shine with flurries of brilliance. The 9 tracks on Hi Lo-Fi feature compelling lyrics on topics such as desperation, revenge, love, and lust and each is ripe with substantial hooks and melodies as if there were songs within the songs.
“The making of Hi Lo-Fi came about very slowly until it was time to track it – at that point, I committed completely to a sound that has been rattling about in my head for years – one that is as the name says, both hi and lo-fi all at once”, says Wickens.
This long awaited sophomore release from one of Canada’s most imaginative trios follows in the tradition of heavy, 1960’s psychedelic blues/rock and influenced by Doyle Bramhall II, Jimi Hendrix, The Black Keys, and Gary Clark Jr. is best dialed up to 11.
RIYL: Big Sugar, Doyle Bramhall II, The Black Keys, Cream
Hi Lo-Fi Track List
1. Foolish Heart 3:41
2. Love & Lust 5:03
3. Run Sister 3:51
4. Calamity Jane 4:41
5. Fall Apart 3:43
6. She’s Back In Town 3:54
7. Your Other Man 3:44
8. Rock Bottom 4:35
9. In My Time Of Dying (Live) 4:13