Saturday, June 27, 2020

#451 : 8 Ball Aitken - Swamp Blues 2


2020 – Red Rocker Records

 By Phillip Smith; June 27, 2020

Swamp Blues 2, the eleventh album from Nashville-based, Aussie blues-rocker 8 Ball Aitken is a fabulous listen.  Recorded at Yellow Dog Studios in Wimberly, Texas, this thirteen-track all-original gem enlists an amazing crew of musicians to help put this together.  8 Ball, on guitars and vocals, is joined by drummer JJ Johnson (Tedeschi Trucks Band, John Mayer), bassist Glenn Fukunaga (Robert Plant, Dr John, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Dixie Chicks), Buddy Leach (George Thorogood & the Destroyers) on sax and keys, with Guthrie Kennard and Julie Meridian on backing vocals.

 I knew I was in for a special listen once I heard the opening song “Tremolo Rain”.  With rich Dylan-esque lyrics, 8 Ball describes an assortment of characters from the Big Easy caught in a violent electrical storm.  His spacy guitar licks delightfully pepper an ominous circular rhythm.  Rolling in like a long-forgotten song from Dire Straits, “Murderers Bar” pays a wonderful homage to a once-popular hangout for blues aficionados at the Melbourne Hotel in Brisbane.  “Chocolate, Jack Daniels, and LSD” is plumb exquisite.  Lyrics which would put a grin on John Prine’s face are paired with a steady countryfied rhythm and sweet swirling sounds of organ.  Making a guest appearance on harmonica for “Cold Shower” is Mojo Webb.  Webb, a semi-finalist in the 2012 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, pours a heaping helping of deep blues in this ode to loneliness on the road. 

 With a candid and genuine approach, 8 Ball lyrically lays it on the line with every song.  Swamp Blues 2 is masterfully crafted, and indeed a wonderful listen.     

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For more information about the artist, visit this website : https://8ballaitken.com


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