Monday, September 3, 2018

#350 : Geoff Achison - Sovereign Town



2018 – Landslide Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 3, 2018


Sovereign Town, the latest release from Melbourne, Australia recording artist Geoff Achison is exquisite and timeless.  Achison, who was awarded the Albert King Award at the International Blues Challenge in 1995, centers the landscape of this new album during Australian gold rush of 1850.  Recording at Pilgrimage Studio in the historic mining town of Ballarat, Victoria weaves another layer of authenticity and connection into the music.  Joining Achison on this album is Andrew Fry on stand-up bass, drummer Dave Clark, organist Liam Kealy and backing vocalist John McNamara. 

A hint of impending doom lurks as the opening bassline kicks “Skeleton Kiss” off the diving board with an ominous and catchy delivery.  Achison’s melodic, raspy vocals remind me of Mark Knopfler’s on this track.  It truly is a great song to lead the album with.  Achison sings of a man’s journey to find his golden fortune which ends with little more than bad luck and empty pockets in title-track “Sovereign Town”.   The delicate melody and lyrical cadence is very Dylan-esque and draws my attention quite swiftly.  

A beautiful new life is given to Ben Harper’s 1994 forlorn tale of lost love “Walk Away”.   Achison, taking a more rustic approach, fills the song with a ton of heart and soul.  “Misha Bella”, a smooth jazz instrumental showcases Achison’s guitar prowess and sounds so good.  “Small Time Crime” is another catchy-as-hell song.  Achison’s funky guitar riffs have an uncanny way to burying themselves right into my subconscious.  A magnitude of empathy washes over with each listen of “World of Blue”.  It is brilliantly written, and passionately performed.  The way he makes his guitar wail is breathtaking.  
I love this album from start to finish.  Give Sovereign Town a listen.  You won’t regret it.

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