Review: John Fairhurst – ‘The Divided Kingdom’

“heavy blues for heavy times”. Everyone gets it between the eyes on the brooding title track. “Lies and hypocrisy, fuck your false morality, don’t expect me to accept your authority”, before Fairhurst adds, “fuck your hypocrisy, fuck your depravity, fuck the aristocracy and fuck the royal family”. Not going to be performing at The Brits anytime soon, but I’d take that and wear it like a badge. John Fairhurst’s gravelly tones hint at DJ Wolfman Jack introducing Tom Waits on a 24hr loop on his radio show. It’s as authentic and as warming as that final shot of bourbon, downed in one before leaving the bar on a cold night. Musically, it’s a furious blend of blues with early-Sabbath riffs (especially on ‘Fear’) and pounding drums. Listen to Murray’s performance on the blistering ‘Hungry Blues (Slight Return)’, especially around the midsection. Drum fills of Bill Ward proportions! Stay alert during the six minutes that this beauty runs for; that jam towards the end, the chants… oh my! Blues as in dirty, sleazy, voodoo blues. If it was a James Bond movie, it would be ‘Live And Let Die’, and Baron Samedi would have his own spin-off show. Listen to the howls on ‘Lies And A .45’… the throbbing basslines, the throaty vocals… you’re not going to get that at a Bonamassa show! ‘Boss Man’ has more of what you might class as a traditional blues-rock feel. The vocals are toned down a notch or two, and although the song seems to be about sticking it to the man, and doing what you feel, John Fairhurst doesn’t seem to want to kill anyone as much. Which is a good thing, considering he makes his own bows, and knows how to use them. Towards the climax of the song, a slight psychedelic vibe appears and the tag of “the Wigan Jimi Hendrix” makes sense. ‘Gonna See My Baby’ continues with the “traditional” feel, but this time more of a Southern states bayou feel. The slide guitar work is staggering. If I was under the age of 16, I’d call it sick. This one must explode into life live. Ending on the whirlwind that is ‘And We Dance The Merry Dance’, ‘The Divided Kingdom’ is a stunning piece of work. And with a running time of just under 40 minutes, one that doesn’t overstay its welcome. ‘The Divided Kingdom’ is available now, check it out on Spotify if you must, but buy it from John Fairhurst himself here. Review: Dave]]>

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