Reviews roundup – Mollie Marriott vs. Austin Gold vs. Elles Bailey vs. Rob Lutes
It seems to have been a long time since the debut album from Mollie Marriott first reared its head. It was a couple of years ago anyway when the video for “A Million Miles” was getting punted around. But now it’s a real thing and here’s the advance single for your delectation.
And it’s very good. It’s fairly traditional seventies tinged pop / rock but it certainly shows that nature trumps nurture every time as she gets her pipes from dad Steve rather than step-dad Joe Brown! As befits a single it’s melodic with a strong chorus even if it probably a bit too hard edged for radio programmers.
Flip it over (ask your Dad) and Paul Weller pops in to add some guitar to the title track of the forthcoming album ‘Truth Is A Wolf’. It’s much more rootsy / pop country as befits a Nashville penned song from Gary Nicholson/Bonnie Hayes but it serves to keep the focus firmly on the voice of Ms Marriott, a voice that is definitely worth listening to.
Before Dark Clouds
Some new blues rock now from the deepest delta of Cambridgeshire.
Of course blues has long been a universal language and Austin Gold who are neither from Austin or contain a member called Austin are looking back to the seventies for their brand of blues rock. Which is just fine by me as vocalist David James Smith, Jack Cable (guitar), Chris Ogden (drums), Russ Hill (keys), and Lee Churchill (bass) know how to perform to their strengths. They’ve been playing live in clubs and at festivals sinve 2013 and they’ve honed their sound well.
They’re better at the riff heavy numbers than they are at the slower numbers even though the soulful voice of David James Smith certainly sounds as though he could handle a good ballad. They just haven’t written one yet. But when the guitars fire up an early Bad Company riff then there is no reason to doubt that they will do well in the UK and European blues circuit.
Now this one I’d been looking forward to. It’s scarcely a year since I first clapped ears on Ms Bailey when “The Elberton Sessions” EP came my way. I was positively moist afterwards as I drooled in a rather unseemly manner over her voice and songs.
Well it’s here. And it’s just as good as I hoped it would be. Don’t ask me how but Ms Bailey managed to record this in Nashville with an all star backing cast so it sounds incredible. But that would be nothing without the songs to set off her remarkable vocals, and they’re here in spades.
Granted, some of the songs are very familiar after the EPs and single but the new material more than lives up to the hype. Numbers like ‘Shackles of Love’, ‘Same Flame’ and ‘Time’s A Healer’ show that she can carry just about any tempo that comes her way and come out on top. There are touches of country and roots thrown into the basic blues rock mix but things are never watered down. Ms Bailey even manages to take a truly awful Taylor Swift song that everyone knows and turn it into an unrecognisable soul ballad. It’s certainly one of the best albums of this year and if blues, soul or just plain old good music is your thing, you owe it to yourself to hear this.
Walk In The Dark
We’re finishing up in the Canadian colonies today with roots rocker Rob Lutes.
A new name to me but this is actually his seventh album, and it goes to show the depth of talent over there, not enough of which makes it out into the wider world.
Mr Lutes goes for a mix of country, Americana, blues and seventies singer/songwriter, adds in some really good songs and ends up wuth a really enjoyable listen. There isn’t that much folk on offer which surprised me after I read about his awards and nominations but it really doesn’t matter when you take a listen to his rich and soulful voice.
It’s almost all new material with a couple of co-writes with Dale Boyle and a John Prine cover, ‘Rocky Mountain Time’, but its when he whips out a song as remarkable as ‘There’s No Way To Tell You That Tonight’ that you’re totally won over to his cause. With a supporting cast of top notch Canadian musicians helping him along, this is a record that merits long term investigation.