Review: Fiona Boyes – Box & Dice

Posted on: Saturday, Nov 7, 2015

Fiona Boyes CD Cover

Fiona Boyes – Box & Dice

(ReferenceRecordings: FR717)

In 2014, singer/guitarist Fiona Boyes was the first Australian blues artiste to be invited to play at the prestigious US traditional acoustic festival ‘MerleFest’. She is also a winner of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

This album comprises eleven tracks, eight of which are original compositions. Fiona Boyes is backed by double bass player Dean Addison and drummer Mark Grunden, who also plays an unusual range of percussion instruments including frottoir, coins, chains and horse shoes.

“Juke Joint On Moses Lane”, a lively opener, and the slower and bluesier “I’m A Stranger Here” are both splendidly accompanied by Fiona’s six-string ‘Box & Dice’ cigar box guitar, which gives the album it’s title. The upbeat rocker, “Walking Round Money”, then brings the excellent rhythm section into play followed by a tremendous rendition of “Smokestack Lightning”, which is the perfect vehicle for the singer’s raunchy vocals.

The bluesy ballad “Louisiana” introduces the four-string FB Australian Classic cigar box guitar while JC Johnson’s “Black Mountain Blues” delivers distinctive shades of Janis Joplin and adds a National Reso-lectric baritone guitar into the fray. The fast-moving foot-tapper, “Mama’s Sanctified Amp” makes way for the shuffling “I Done Quit” before solo mode is resumed on the Delta blues “Walk With Me”.

The delightful compendium is brought to a close with “Tiny Pinch Of Sin”, an upbeat rocker boasting some lovely guitar work on the cigar box four-stringer, and a fine version of Magic Sam Maghett’s slow blues, “Easy Baby Magic”.

“Box & Dice” is a superb album, which features great vocals and terrific guitar playing and incorporates a very effective mixture of styles across the blues spectrum. Very impressive.

LIONEL ROSS

www.RefernceRecordings.com
www.fionaboyes.com

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