2016 – Ross Neilsen
By Phillip Smith; Oct. 15, 2016
Canadian guitarist and singer/songwriter Ross Neilsen has a special way of tapping into his human experience, then catapulting that essence, full of heart and soul, into his music. His latest album Elemental shows just that, as he infuses his unique blend of country, blues, and rock into eleven wonderfully constructed songs. Neilsen’s talent has not gone unnoticed. He has received Best Blues Recording for the Music New Brunswick Awards twice, received two CBS Rising Star awards, and was a semi-finalist in the 2012 International Blues Challenge.
Neilsen delightfully taps into the delta blues with “Black Coffee”. Hearing Neilsen ripping it up on guitar alongside Steve Marriner’s righteous harp performance, transports me right to Memphis’ historic Beale Street. A haunting country melody accented by Neil Young-like riffs set the mood in “Devil Made You”. This is one cool as hell track with fantastic steel guitar. An air of melancholy washes over when I hear “Ash Fault” play through. The violin accompaniment from Jim Bowskill beautifully sets the tone. “The Race” has an old-school Motown vibe. The soulful vocals and peppy bursts of brass put a smile on my face.