Review: Brad Wilson: Blues Thunder

Posted on: Sunday, Aug 9, 2015

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Brad Wilson – Blues Thunder

(Cali Bee Music Inc.)

The latest release from Californian blues-rocker Brad Wilson, “Blues Thunder”, is a very polished and enjoyable affair, with all twelve songs penned by by Wilson himself, who is a fine guitarist and has a really nice voice – and is also backed by a most sympathetic and capable band. The new album follows up the successful “Hands On The Wheel” release, and it’s easy to see why he is demand on the club and festival circuit.

Accompanying Brad Wilson’s vocals and guitar are: Brian Beal (bass), Amrik Sandhu (drums), Kirk Nelson (keyboards) and Tumbleweed Mooney (harmonica) – Adam Guest features on drums also, playing on two cuts. “Blues Thunder” was also produced by Wilson, and recorded at three different studios.

If anything, the cover may be a little misleading for those expecting a bona-fide blues rock affair, as there is plenty of ‘light and shade’ on offer, with the opening “Is It Any Wonder” being a very melodic ballad with some tasteful guitar work and a sweet vocal; and “Blue Shadows” has some jazz tinges, mainly courtesy of Kirk Nelson’s piano.

The pace is lifted for the bouncing shuffle, “Step By Step”, with some blistering guitar leads and the harmonica of Tumbleweed Mooney; and the title cut, “Blues Thunder” is a crunching rocker, driven again by Wilson’s guitar and the forceful rhythm section of Brian Beal and Amrik Sandhu. The Bo Diddley-inspired beat of “Let’s Go Barefootin’ It” is a stand out, with more tasty harmonica fills; but it’s then back to a gorgeous ballad in “My Faith Has Been Broken”.

Elsewhere, the acoustic guitar leads off the pretty “Home”, before the song builds momentum; the swinging “Black Coffee At Sunrise” fairly rattles along with rockabilly guitar leads and sounds likeĀ a ‘doff of the cap’ to the great American rock ‘n’ roll music of the 50s. This most enjoyable album ends in fine style with the rolling blues of “Sugar Sweet” and the tough, but melodic, rocker, “Never Again”.

Well worth checking out for all lovers of melodic blues rock – fine original songs, and beautifully played and recorded.

GRAHAME RHODES

www.bradwilsonlive.com

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