Sonic Blues Preachers
A Progressive Blues Experiment That Certainly Works.
I’m getting wary of what labels describe as The Blues these days; as much of what I get sent is usually just Heavy Rock in disguise. But, the title of this album SONIC BLUES PREACHERS from Australian power-duo Gwyn Ashton and John Freeman is exactly what it says on the tin – both Sonic and Blues!
The grungy She’s What I Like feels like the rumble you get when you turn the key in a 10 year old Ford Fiesta RS Turbo, and Ashton’s expressive vocals and dirty guitar coupled to Freeman’s steam-powered drumming are the perfect soundtrack for such a vehicle.
It’s easy to hear why Ashton has played alongside some real heavyweight acts over the years; but here he gets to ‘live the dream’ with Ashton and songwriting partner Gary Allen’s very own songs that come from their own experiences and vivid imaginations.
I love the way he uses his voice and a vintage microphone on If I Don’t Feel It and the twisted love song She’s lost Her Power, both of which had me stomping my left foot as I drove down some very windy country roads on Sunday!
Although it’s a metaphor, if ever there’s one place I don’t want to visit it’s Ashton’s Candy Store which sounds like a scary hybrid of Alex Harvey and JD Wilkes on a scary tale that ain’t going on my seduction playlist!
Ashton’s guitar playing is just heavy enough for me to enjoy these days; occasionally sounding a bit like TS McPhee on Take Yourself Away and he’s so diverse at other times Walter Trout and even Stevie Ray; but the lasting reminder here will actually be the songs themselves, with two tying for the title RMHQ Favourite Song.
The Old Fool finds Ashton playing some truly mesmerising swampy bottleneck slide on something that will touch the hearts of many men of my generation; whereas Fool In Your Life is as cool a Rock Ballad as I’ve heard in years; with Ashton again using a bottleneck; but this time on an electric.
Just as I was getting weary and unsure as to what the future held for RMHQ, along comes Gwyn Ashton to restore my faith in the restorative powers of music to give me a lift …… and he will you too.
Released 16th April 2019