Review: Moreland and Arbuckle – 1861

Posted on: Saturday, Sep 27, 2008

Moreland & Arbuckle

(NorthernBlues Music: NBM0044)

Here’s another gem from the good folk at NorthernBlues Music, some raw, ass-kicking hill-country blues from Kansas! Aaron Moreland and Dustin Arbuckle’s debut for the Canadian label is a treat from start to finish – the title, “1861”, coming from the year their home state joined the Union.

Moreland’s array of guitars, with Arbuckle on vocals and harmonica are joined by drummer Brad Horner, together the trio create a powerful sound, which is rooted mainly in the blues, but would probably appeal to a cross-over rock audience.

They get down to business with a thundering opening track, a romp through Hound Dog Taylor’s “Gonna Send You Back To Georgia”; followed by the original “Fishing Hole”, featuring Aaron Moreland’s homemade cigar-box guitar, made by a friend in Memphis and with a mighty tone.

Dustin Arbuckle is no slouch on the harmonica and the excellent “Diamond Ring” features his playing, before a cover of RL Burnside’s hill-country classic, “Jumper On The Line” – titled “See My Jumper Hangin’ Out On The Line – in fact the whole album has echoes of the Mississippi greats, such as the aforementioned Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and other Fat Possum artists, and is none the worse for it.

“The Legend” has a western feel to it, and a true story of life, love and loss, based on a real person; “Never Far Behind” rides along on a great slide guitar groove, with Horner’s drums kicking the song along in an ode to Kansas life, with a nod to the late, great Jimmy Reed on “Please, Please Mammy”, a lazy shuffle with a wheezy first harmonica solo, and tougher second one, from Arbuckle, and rip-roaring guitar solo from Moreland – very nice indeed, and one of the album highlights.

Oklahoma City songwriter Ryan Taylor, a friend of the band, contributes the stomping “Pittsburgh In The Morning, Philadelphia At Night”, followed by the beautiful acoustic “Wrong I Do”, dominated by Moreland’s resonator guitar and haunting vocal from Arbuckle. The album closes with “Wiser Jam”, apparently made up on the spot, and probably not like anything else before it – a meandering, almost hypnotic piece with an almost Eastern feel, with Chris Wiser guesting on Hammond B3 organ.


Moreland & Arbuckle



October 3rd, 2008 at 23:50
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Aaron Moreland and Dustin Arbuckle are headed to Iraq and Kuwait later this month as part of the second BLUZAPALOOZA tour.

“Aaron and I are deeply honored to be performing on the upcoming BLUZAPALOOZA tour,” says Arbuckle. “An opportunity like this doesn’t come along everyday. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to travel halfway around the world, to a place unlike any other we’ve ever seen, and bring a bit of home to the men and women serving in our military.”

“For me, this holds a deep personal significance,” continues Arbuckle. “There are several of my loved ones who have, at one point or another through the years, served overseas. My dad fought in Vietnam and all of his brothers were in the military at different times during the 1950s and 60s. More recently, one of my closest friends has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the years, hearing their accounts of the things they experienced has left a strong impression on me.”

“This tour is bound to be a once in a lifetime experience and we couldn’t be happier to be a part of it,” concludes Moreland. “Music can bring happiness into peoples’ lives like almost nothing else. Hopefully that’s exactly what we can accomplish here.”

Moreland & Arbuckle, together with their drummer, Brad Horner, have had quite a year – 1861 released on NorthernBlues Music, signed to Piedmont Talent, and now BLUZAPALOOZA. If you’re going down to Helena next week for the Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival, see them perform Friday, October 10 @ 4 p.m. on the Houston Stackhouse Acoustic Stage. Also check here for more dates.

Created by blues producers Steve Simon and John Hahn and presented by Armed Forces Entertainment, this 12 day BLUZAPALOOZA tour stars blues icons Shemekia Copeland, Michael Burks, Deanna Bogart, Zac Harmon, Moreland & Arbuckle, Tony Braunagel, Aaron Trubic and The BLUZAPALOOZA All-Star Band.

The BLUZAPALOOZA tour has been made possible with the help of Armed Forces Entertainment, The Blues Foundation, Blues Revue, NorthernBlues Music, Alligator Records, Yellow Dog Records, Blind Raccoon, Delta Groove Records, Blind Pig Records, Hohner Harmonicas, Telarc Records, Sony Corporation, Ruf Records and Entertainment Support Systems, LLC.