Saturday, 10 March 2012

Review: Simon McBride

Simon McBride - Nine Lives (Nugene)
As a Belfast boy playing the blues, singer/guitarist Simon McBride has attracted inevitable comparisons with compatriots Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore. ‘Down to the Wire’, the opening salvo on this largely live collection certainly bears out the latter, with a lyrical cascade of electric notes inescapably reminiscent of ‘Parisian Walkway’ and ‘Still Got the Blues for You’; while the eight minute medley of ‘Take My Hand/Hell Waters Rising’ which follows on its heels is a different animal altogether, a master-class of blue-collar gutsiness which impertinently channels a certain tousle-haired gunslinger in a checked shirt.

On this third album McBride, aided and abetted by rhythm section Paul Hamilton (drums) and Carl Harvey (bass), stakes a genuine claim to be the rightful heir to Northern Ireland’s distinguished blues heritage, playing with a rare passion and conviction, and matching first rate musicianship with top notch material. All nine live numbers and four acoustic bonus tracks showcase the unaffected earthiness of his voice and the cool fluid power of his guitar style in their respective ways, but the obvious point of entry is probably the impressive new single, ‘Rich Man Falling’.
Neil B.

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