Cedar Mountain Music 2016
Conjuring the spirit of blues, British guitarist unfolds a dark vista with a specter of a fallen hero.
If this group’s 2014 live-in-studio debut “The Smokehouse Sessions” didn’t make a splash due to its limited availability – and, presumably, its reliance on genre standards – their first single, an original one, is bound to bang a gong in many a quarter. Riding an overloaded, if sharp, riff that cuts to the bone and heals at the same time like a scalpel, “Melting Away” may be a muscular slab of blues yet it’s just as sensual – and sensational.
Voiced by Rietta Austin and shot through with Andy Fraser‘s bass which tap at the heart of what made British take on Delta idiom so special, the piece is unfolding from a simple ballad to orchestral, elevated with a string quartet, drama, where acoustic intimacy and heavy attack create a gripping contrast. Emotional peak comes with Saiichi Sugiyama’s molten, and moving, solo – best enjoyed in an extended version of the piece – and such a climactic resolution, though breathing, can’t help but leave the listener gasping for the whole album that will follow the single in 2017.