2019 – independent
By Phillip Smith; Dec. 28, 2019
Northern Social, a mesmerizing duo from Ontario, is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Dylan Wickens and drummer/percussionist Mike Rajna. Their debut release is this wonderful five-track EP, saturated in blues. Wickens, a two-time winner of the Toronto Blues Society New Talent Search, and nominee for The Maple Blues Awards’ Best New Artist in 2005, has been steadily touring these past twenty-two years, with either his own band, or with his Hendrix Tribute.
The high-octane blues-rocker “Waiting” fearlessly rips this package open with fiery hot licks and a driving beat. I’m instantly drawn to the hypnotic rhythm Wickens lays out in their cover of Keb Mo’s “Am I Wrong”. It settles nicely in the pocket while his smooth and heavy vocals take charge. “King of Hearts” is another one I can just get lost in. There’s a bit of that North Mississippi moonshine poured on this one. It’s fabulously dirty. “Dead Neighbor Blues” is work of genius and beautifully brings this recording to a close. Wickens definitely tapped into the blues when writing this one.
The five tracks on this EP surely packs a punch, and demands attention. Northern Social is definitely worth taking a chance on.
· Streaming formats are not available. Purchases can be made through the website, www.dylanwickens.com