E D Brayshaw
FIRE WITHOUT WATER
Mescal Canyon Records
No Cheap Tricks or Big Stars, Just Top Quality AM Rock.
We first encountered the guitar work of ED Brayshaw a year or two back when he released STONE COLD BEAUTIFUL alongside RMHQ friend Wily Bo Walker; and here he is breaking the shackles of the touring musician by finally releasing his first solo album; and by ‘solo’ we mean he wrote all the songs then played all of the instruments (apart from drums on two tracks) plus singing like he was the last man on earth.
As you know I normally like a couple of weeks to savour the delights of the records I review; but this arrived on the day of release and my shift pattern meant I could only play it in snatches of two tracks at a time; until yesterday.
Thankfully for me; I pretty much knew what to expect; although the sheer quality contained herein; surpasses any and all of my preconceptions!
One day I will start a Twitter debate about the quality of 21st century electric guitar players vs their 1960’s counterparts.
On the dark and brooding opening track Hadn’t Found You, Brayshaw sound’s every bit as grizzled and world weary as I’d expected; but his guitar playing?
WOW! Sublime and liquid; somewhere between Buddy Guy and Gary Moore, with a hint of Roy Buchanan in the way he not just bends the notes; but occasionally folds them in two!
Occasionally you need to take a deep breath in-between most songs as they tend to come at you like wild animals; The Call and Say What You Will, both need to have the dial turned up to 9; but I don’t need to telly you that, as your brain will do it subconsciously.
In days of yore this album would have found a natural home at the AM Stations around the Western World; and it doesn’t take a genius to imagine The Call or When The Walls Come Down becoming ‘breakout hits’ and crossing over into the mainstream either.
While this is fundamentally a ‘Rock Album’ in the age old fashion; but their are hints of ‘Power Pop’ in the melodies too (thinking Cheap Trick and Big Star here) in Reckless and I Hear the Rain too.
The album even closes with the intricately delicate instrumental track Twilight, which again throws up memories of not just Moore and Buchanan but Hank B Marvin too.
Selecting a Favourite Track has boiled down between two very different tracks; Said & Done has a cool swampy tone to it while Reckless somehow has a funky Bluesy groove ala someone like Freddie King or Shuggie Otis; and that’s why Reckless is officially the RMHQ Favourite Song here.
I’ve always had a soft spot for singers with a husky voice (Cocker, Burdon, Marriott and Dame Maggie Bell to name but four) and Brayshaw’s flat enunciation and frazzled vocal chords make this a a quintessentially British Rock album; but that amazingly dexterous and fiery guitar coupled to Brayshaw’s powerhouse rhythm playing make this a shoe-in for crossing over the Atlantic too.
Released May 1st 2020