Well I might as well start with a bold statement. Stevie’s baby brother and his band King King produced what I believe was the best Blues Rock album of 2015 and now the older brother has stepped up and, although it is only February, I think he has done the same for 2016. It is going to take some beating. Don’t you just love sibling rivalry?
Although this album is packed with completely new ideas and different directions it is also layered in the past and loaded with familiarities. One of the best of these familiar things is that King King’s drummer Wayne Proctor has thrown his sticks into the corner and taken on production duties as half of House Of Tone Productions. What a job they have done too as the sound is fantastic. The depth, the texture , while getting the best out of Stevie. I fully recommend getting your hands on the best set of headphones you can and sitting in a darkened room for full effect.
As the intro starts you would think Stevie has just fallen into the studio drunk until the guitar is picked up and WOW, that riff!! ” Chains Of Hope” is going to blow you away. It is a rocker with a heart full of soul and a soul full of Blues. Welcome to ‘that’ voice and those fingers. Sheer brilliance. “Roll The Dice” goes to a dirty sounding blues swagger. More familiar ground for those who know Stevie’s back catalogue and a tip of the hat to a certain Mr Bonamassa. The guitar work is sublime. ” Change” also has the familiar Nimmo touch, a slow burner, a great chorus and more slow hand guitars.
“Running Back To You” will have your brows furrowed just at the sound, there is something about Blues at its best, it tugs at your heart and seeps into your skin like no other genre and this one is blues as the greats intended it. Now with, ” Walk The Thin Line” Stevie just got up and went all country y’all. This reminded me of The Eagles in their heyday. This song made me think over all the links Rock has to Country. It has always been there and I realised as my feet are tapping along, I hang on the brilliant slide work. Its is also a great idea sticking this in there as there are a good amount of bands that are taking this sound on board these days. In fact I recently saw the Cadillac Three and Whisky Myers and they were both outstanding playing similar music and performed to a sold out crowd, so the audience is there.
“I’ll pray For you” is back to the Blues Rock formula and like a comfortable pair of joggers after a hard day’s work it has that Nimmo sound running through it like Blackpool in a piece of rock. As much as it is familiar it is also new, the sound is spot on, the vocals exquisite and as catchy a number as you can wish for.
Now what the hell do we have here Mr Nimmo? “Still Hungry” digs the riffs out from the 70s and in some fashion. This was a close tie for the best song on the album for me. it is a beast of a number and the subject matter would hit home with a lot of bands these days…” I may be broke, I aint broken, I am still hungry” the man hollers with a voice full of history.
You want classic Blues? Well step up “Gambler’s Roll”, what else could it be? Down on your luck, tick, mistakes made, tick, hard luck story, tick, kick your ass, pain tinged guitar work, double tick. A dream of a song. “Lovin’ Might Do Us good” is back to the 70s again but think four dancers in sync, clapping and clicking fingers. Stick on a white jumpsuit or some frilly shirts and you are there. This song should have been on the Blues Brothers soundtrack! To finish this brilliant album we go back to the cowboy boots and an acoustic guitar. “Love You More Tonight” is just a beautiful song, it is slow and just listen to the production on here. You can pick up every pluck of the string and the echo in Stevie’s voice. What a way to close out this album.
This is an absolute gem of a recording. There are no weak songs, and I have played this constantly since it popped through the door. If you buy one album this has to be it; play it, enjoy it, immerse yourself in the sound and then buy your ticket for the upcoming tour which also has Ben Poole on the bill. These shows are not to be missed.
Review Ritchie Birnie]]>