Review: Jim Suhler – Panther Burn

Posted on: Tuesday, Jun 17, 2014

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Jim Suhler – Panther Burn

(Underworld Records: UND0023)

Jim is a another guitar player from Texas and yes, he is from the Dallas area, east of it in fact; but, please don’t let those facts allow you to let this new album from him to simply pass you by for, he has created a rather splendid atmospheric cocoon of differing musical styles and emotions that warmly represents the blues in many of its attractive and compelling forms.

He was born in 1960, growing up in a musical world that was saturated by many and various  British rock bands, his influences were also mixed with home grown bands such as; the Allman Brothers, ZZ Top, Lynryd Skynryd, Johnny Winters and the Ramones. As time passed, he also became influenced by artists such as; ‘Bugs’ Henderson, brothers, Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan, Anson Funderburgh and Rocky Hill.

His musical apprenticeship commenced in 1985 when he began playing in the rock band Overlord, from there moved to the blues band Road Hogs. After the demise of The Homewreckers in nineteen ninety-one he formed his own band The Monkey Beat and also became a DJ on the Dallas radio station KNON. In 1999 George Thorogood invited Jim to join him in the Destroyers and continues to play in the band to this day.

The fourteen numbers here for your delectation contain within them a pleasant mixture of influences that range from Texan Swing, Cajun, Jazz, a smattering of hill country, blues, country swing, rock’n’roll, swamp and good old boogie.

A highly engaging but darkly haunting and compelling Eastern guitar flavour is intrinsically woven into “I See You”, a fruity Dobro and acoustic guitar led stomper with accordion and organ subtlety running underneath, which is ironically lyrically pitch black, for within the number Jim puts into words his emotions regarding the death of his daughter in 2002, this acoustic Dobro theme is continued on “Remember Mama”, a variation of the music used in the film ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’.

The mood is lightened with a down-home rolling acoustic entitled “Texassippi”.  A very fine cobweb duster is “Between Midnight and Day”, a merciless machine-gunner, that swings and burns like a roaring and spitting flame thrower. The title number has a sweetly thick and murky swamp filled flavour that you can almost taste; the slowburn resonator chills the soul.

Providing the excellent backing for Jim who plays guitars are; Tim Alexander; piano and organ, Carlton Powell; bass, Beau Chadwell and Jimmy Morgan on drums. Kim Wilson features on “I Declare”, which is a delightful piano led rolling Texas blues in fine Thunderbirds fashion; Kim’s easy going lazy paced blasting melds wonderfully with Jim’s insistently nagging, chugging guitar.

Recommended!

BRIAN HARMAN

www.jimsuhler.com

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