Review:Matt Schofield – Anything But Time

Posted on: Tuesday, Jul 5, 2011

“Anything But Time”
(Nugene Records: NUG1102)

Now established as one of the finest guitarists around, Matt Schofield’s new release – his fourth studio album – “Anything But Time” was recorded at The Music Shed in New Orleans, with Grammy Award winner John Porter on production duties – a man very adapt at capturing great blues guitar sounds, with past clients including no less than Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and BB King, to name but three.

The follow-up to “Heads, Tails & Aces” sees long-time musical partner Jonny Henderson on Hammond organ, and also handling the bass duties, with former Robert Cray Band drummer Kevin Hayes making up the trio, with three guest appearances from the great Jon Cleary. The British-born, New Orleans-based player features here on piano, clavinet and Wurlitzer, adding his usual classy, funky touch.

As ever with a Matt Schofield release the album is full of great grooves, dynamics and straddles blues, funk, soul and more. The ten tracks are, bar two, all original compositions, co-written with by Schofield and Dorothy Whittick . . . the opening title cut sees an almost Booker-T groove, punctuated by Schofield’s piercing and clear toned guitar and the tremendous Hammond of Jonny Henderson; the following slow blues of “See Me Through” is a near seven minute delight with all involved given plenty of space, as Henderson’s organ playing is accompanied by some delightful piano from Jon Cleary . . . and a convincing vocal from Schofield and some trademark great guitar soloing.

Matt Schofield takes on a contemporary cover for the first time here, Steve Winwood’s “At Times We Do Forget”, the funky-edged tune cut completely live in the studio; “Shipwrecked” was captured live on the first day of recording and is a strutting blues, with again Schofield showing how inspired his guitar playing is, with several time changes in this one . . . impressive stuff indeed!

The tasteful “Dreaming Of You”, ‘doffs its cap’ to one of the all-time greats, with Schofield himself saying, “this is the first time I’ve revealed on a recording my full appreciation for the Hendrix school of rhythm guitar,” with some gorgeous chording, not a million miles from another British guitarist who was influenced by Jimi Hendrix. . . 70s giant Robin Trower, who is still making fine music to this day. The release’s other cover is his first stab at an Albert King tune, choosing the Stax-era funky blues of “Wrapped Up In Love” . . . full of those great bends that dominated King’s playing . . . beautifully pushed by Kevin Hayes drums and Jonny Henderson’s fills.

The second lengthy slow blues here is the epic “Where Do I Have To Stand”, giving the trio plenty of time and space to stretch out again; with Jon Cleary on board again for the killer funk tune of “One Look (And I’m Hooked), featuring both on clavinet and Wurlitzer, and a spectacular solo from Jonny Henderson. Schofield’s guitar is ablaze on the shuffle of “Don’t Know What I’d Do”, which swings in fine style . . . . more classy piano here from Jon Cleary and soloing from Henderson. The closer “Share Our Smile” has a quite poppy, soulful feel to it . . . with Schofield’s guitar exploding into a wonderful, tasteful solo.


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