The Great Divide
Blue Corn Music
A Very Powerful and Thought Provoking Album For Our Times.
Unless you are a devotee of the minutiae on albums; especially the ‘songwriter’ slot next to the track title, you may not have heard of Gary Nicholson before; but you almost certainly own some of his songs …… Keb’ Mo’s Don’t Leave Me Here and and most notably Buddy Guy’s The Blues Are Alive and Well to name just two, that will give you a taste of what to expect here to some degree.
The opening track, a duet starring RMHQ Favourite Ruthie Foster, God Help America will alienate 50% of the US population; but needs to be heard by all, as it’s a 21st Century Blues lament that will sting the soul of many who hear it; but just as many will shout “Hallelujah Brother!”
Living across the Atlantic I sit firmly in the latter camp; as I presume most of my liberal leaning readers will do too.
Jump forward a couple of songs and Nicholson gives us the almighty Immigrant Nation; which comes from the same part of his soul; and while written for and about his own country; it mirrors my own thoughts about the UK today, where the Right Wing seem Hell bent on turning away refugees and migrants at the border, without a thought to where we all originally came from anyway …. we too are an Immigrant Nation.
As a talented songwriter Nicholson can get these, and other similar messages across without the need for spitting bile and banging any drums; songs like the title track The Great Divide and The Troubles, will have you nodding along to the tune, before thinking and backtracking; “Did he really say THAT??” Yep, he did! I’m not spoiling anything here, because you ‘need’ to listen carefully and the message will eventually punch you square on the nose.
It breaks my heart that in my own lifetime Gary Nicholson could experience racism like which he describes in Blues in Black & White first hand, as a young touring musician; but sadly history shows that it is 100% accurate, and deeply personal too.
To some intents and purposes, THE GREAT DIVIDE is a Modern Protest Album in the vein of those 60’s classics we all grew up with; and Nicholson carries on that proud tradition with not just style, but grace too; flitting as he does between the Blues end of the spectrum with Trickle Down through to the downright Folky on the spine-tingling Nineteen and touching all points in-between too on Choose Love.
It’s been quite easy selecting the jaunty Soft Spot as my Favourite Song; because it reflects my own Father’s take on life, where as a poorly paid coal miner, he still knew that there were many people out there a lot worse off than us; and that’s something he instilled in me and my brothers and we in turn have past that on to our own children.
This is a very important album, as it asks as many questions of the world we find ourselves in in 2019 as it gives answers; with Gary Nicholson using the skills he’s garnered over half a century in the business to create a very, very powerful album indeed.
Released June 7th 2019