01 January 2019 (released)
05 February 2019
This has hardly been off my player for the last couple of weeks.
If you like your Blues dark and sombre, packed with emotion and honesty, this is one you have to check out.
From the opening notes of ‘Someday’ Robert plays with a heavy hand, picking the notes with ultimate care and letting the strings resonate as his voice, gruff and deep, pleads for victory on this earth and celebrations in the hereafter. He leads straight into a remarkable version of Blind Willie Johnson’s ‘Soul Of A Man’ played on a Gretsch resonator where those dark vocals once again have you looking deep into your soul – Blind Willie would approve methinks.
Then we have the incredibly dark ‘Mr Bell’.
Robert describes it as “A dark folk tune about the villain Lester F Bell from Bodie California's most haunted mining camps.“ and as he sings he seems to suck all the light out of the room, creating a dense and focused place of conflict. Chilling, but I found myself going back to it again and again.
‘Good Vibes’ almost feels out of place here – a slightly reggae riff and a much more positive song than most of the album but it still has its dark edge.
Probably the standout number on this set is a brilliant version of ‘John The Revelator’ - Blind Willie Johnson again - with Robert supplying all the playing except for a fiery acid guitar solo from Jim McCormack.
The thing that I get from just about every track here is that Jason Robert doesn’t tell stories as much as ask questions – questions about the world and about your own view of it. Even when the mood lightens as on ‘All I Need’ where he states “Just a little sunshine’s all I need” he is asking just why you need any more than that.
This is an exceptional set of original songs and Blues classics but with everything touched by Mr Robert’s unique style. Seek this one out, it is brilliant