Review: Simon McBride – Crossing The Line
Posted on: Sunday, Oct 21, 2012
Simon McBride – Crossing The Line
(Nugene Records: NUG1203)
The fast-rising guitarist from Belfast, Simon McBride, has been prolific and kept very busy since his debut for Nugene in 2008 – “Rich Man Falling” – gigging constantly both in his own right and landing some high profile support slots to the likes of Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa and Derek Trucks. Rooted in the blues-rock ‘corner’, this new release, “Crossing The Line”, is a finely crafted 11 song collection, with his gutsy voice and impressive guitar work backed by the rhythm section of Paul Hamilton (drums) and Carl Harvey (bass).
The songs are mostly McBride’s own, or collaborations, with lots of ‘light and shade’ and touches of extreme finesse among some tougher moments. The album was recorded in his home city of Belfast and also at Dragon Xing Studio in Annapolis, Maryland. The tunes are very radio friendly indeed, and sound to me as if they may be embraced by our friends on the other side of the ‘pond’!
A strutting, and then nagging, riff kicks off the opening “Lead Us Away” – McBride’s voice here, and indeed on a few tracks, very reminiscent of Redcar’s favourite son, David Coverdale (sorry Chubby Brown!) . . . with its warm, bluesy lilt; the following “Go Down Gamblin'” is a tough rocker with another big hook on the guitar work and it’s driven by the very fine rhythm section of Messrs. Hamilton and Harvey. The pace is taken down for the melodic ballad of “No Room To Breathe” with more delicate, but beautifully toned guitar work.
Things move up a gear again on the rockin’ “Don’t Be A Fool”; the lovely “Alcatraz” is powered by McBride’s guitar but also the horns of Davey Howell (saxophone) and Linley Hamilton (trumpet) . . . it’s another number laden with appealing hooks and sounds made for radio. “One More Try” has a Celtic-tinge to it, recalling the late Gary Moore . . . a man who must have been a huge influence on the younger McBride. He shows off some nifty acoustic fingerpicking on “A Rock And A Storm”, and he is clearly a man of many talents with a way for a smart lyric too.
The thunderous “Heartbreaker” positively roars out of the traps, it’s a fine blues rocker with top performances from all involved. The closing “Down To The Wire (Revisited)”, with more dynamic guitar playing, is a suitable closer to a most enjoyable and tasteful release . . . catch Simon McBride on tour soon!