Showing posts with label John McNamara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John McNamara. Show all posts

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.


Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.   

Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon store.     

Saturday, June 10, 2017

John McNamara - Rollin’ With It

2017 – Bahool Records  
By Phillip Smith; June 10, 2017

Recorded at Memphis’s legendary Ardent Studios, Rollin’ With It, the latest album from Australian singer/songwriter, John McNamara is chockful of smooth Memphis soul.  Boasting a killer lineup of Stax musicians featuring drummer Steve Potts (Booker T & the MGs),  guitarist Michael Toles (Bobby Bland, The Bar-Kays), pianist/organist Lester Snell (Albert King, Isaac Hayes), who also arranged the album, and bassist James “Jimi” Kinard(Isaac Hayes, B.B. Kings All Stars), the album is a bodacious musical delight.       McNamara, who grabbed a semi-finalist slot in the 2015 International Blues Challenge, lays his fabulous voice and bluesy guitar licks down in six original songs and four wonderful covers.

From the moment, “One of a Kind” immersed from the speakers, loaded with searing electric guitar, rich keys from Snell, and the sweet sound of horns, I knew this album would be a favorite.  McNamara suavely croons as the spoon-fed rhythm of “Under the Weight of the Moon” uncannily drills itself into my subconscious. That’s absolutely fine with me though.

McNamara beautifully takes on Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Ask Me Nothing (But about the Blues)”.  Drizzled with buttery vocals and wonderful blasts of horns, this one is sung from the heart.  His recording of Otis Redding’s “Security” is second to none and positively fabulous.     

As a huge fan of Stax Records and all the terrific music which flowed out its doors in the Sixties and Seventies, I have to say, Rollin’ With It ranks as my favorite Stax album not officially on the Stax label.  It’s just that good.