Thursday, 22 September 2011

Review: David Bethany

David Bethany - True Love (Independent)
South Carolina singer-songwriter David Bethany has certainly earned his musical spurs. He’s the ex-frontman of The Killer Whales (check out their 1983 album “Emotional Geography” – produced by Jamie Hoover), and he’s shared stages with Bonnie Raitt, Richard Thompson, Johnny Winter, George Thorogood, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Molly Hatchet. They say variety is the spice of life and anyone who’s been musically involved with such a diverse group of artists must like mixing it up. So it is on “True Love”, where he employs island rhythms, ska guitars, Americana melodies and blue moves. His voice, somewhere between Jackson Browne and John Hiatt, is easy and likeable, and adds some classic ‘70s singer-songwriter flair to a collection of songs that feel personal and real.

Highlights come thick and fast. The title track makes an immediate impression with its Caribbean beat, hint of brass and a song (and vocal) that should be owning daytime BBC radio. “Scotch for Supper, Cigarettes for Dessert” almost lives up to its title, and features the most restrained and gentle of guitar solos; the sort of thing that JJ Cale would be proud of. “Can’t Hold On” cruises dangerously close to perfection. An organ fed melody releases a country-rock groove, then a wandering trumpet mirrors the tune and takes it off to beautiful new worlds. It’s an inspired three and a half minutes, and will undoubtedly be a massive hit in some as yet undiscovered parallel universe, where such things as genuine soul and tender, heartfelt songwriting are coveted.
Rob F.

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