Saturday, 3 March 2012

Review: Julian Sas

Julian Sas - Bound to Roll (Cavalier)
In a world where many musicians boast that they are too preoccupied with their own efforts to pay attention to the ‘opposition’, it’s something of a relief to come across an accomplished player who has as much to say about his heroes as he does himself. In his biographical profiles Dutch bluesman Julian Sas pays handsome tribute to the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy in particular, whose influences can be heard loud and clear on ‘Life on the Line’ and ‘Mercy’, the two songs which open ‘Bound to Roll’, his latest collection for Cavalier.

He is equally indebted to the Allman Brothers for the surprisingly southern tinged ballad ‘How Could I Have Been So Blind’ and the slide-driven ‘Swamplands’. A self-confessed heavy rock fan he borrows shamelessly from AC/DC on the riff-tastic ‘Tear It Up’, while the smouldering ‘Burning Bridges’ could have been learnt from Gary Moore in one of his more reflective moods. Elsewhere he borrows material from Bob Dylan (a highly enthusiastic ‘Highway 61 Revisited’), Steve Marriot and Rory Gallagher. The whole however makes good use of its summative parts; and ‘Bound to Roll’ avoids the charge of being derivative by taking ownership of both sounds and songs alike, serving them up with vigour and style. Sas might wear his influences on his sleeve, but he wears them well.
Neil B.

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