The Delta Rhythm – Break The Surface EP

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It seems blues rock is alive and blushingly well in Birmingham, and that is down to UK band The Delta Rhythm. The proof comes with their new three-track EP Break The Surface, a release which provides a satisfaction and captivation which is as lingering as it is refreshing. Combining the rich essences of Americana, blues, indie, and hard rock into a sound which is not dramatically unique but still able to stand distinctly tall within any emerging crowd of bands, The Delta Rhythm is a proposition drenched in potential and skilled craft which it is hard not to anticipate even greater things from.

Formed in the first weeks of 2012 and taking inspirations from the likes of Canned Heat, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Oasis, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, The Sword, and Clutch, the band was soon supporting bands like Pint Shot Riot at Birmingham’s 02 Academy 3 and subsequently lighting up festivals like the Lightwoods Park May Day Festival in Birmingham which saw the band perform before a 10,000 strong crowd. Now consisting of vocalist/pianist Sami Cornick, guitarist Gregg Freeman, bassist Ben Adams, and drummer Martyn Todd, The Delta Rhythm’s new EP follows the well-received Rebels Redemption and The Rain Will Take Us All EPs, pushing the band to a new level which you would suspect leads to nationwide attention.

The release opens with Ticking Bomb, the song in turn starting with a singular gentle scrub of guitar before being joined by crisp Break The Surface EP Coverrhythms and soon after the throaty bass of Adams and the fine vocals of Cornick, her voice an instant draw. The song strolls keenly once established, guitars and rhythms an easy accessible bait upon which blues/country rock melodies and enterprise colours ears and imagination. The production has Cornick to the fore which depletes some of the potency of the music around her but such her obvious power and vocal talent it is hard to raise any real complaints. Across its body, the song continues to sway and twist with appealing guitar designs and excellent vocal harmonies, never erupting to the heights expected but worming deeper into the psyche and emotions to be just as potently effective.

The following Singing The Blues opens with a strum of guitar chords which is vintage rock ‘n’ roll, a moment which could fit any song from Eddie Cochran to Johnny Cash or Free to Jack White and sets the track off in fine style. There is a swing and swagger to the song which recruits feet and passions right away, an enslavement only strengthened by the undemanding melodies and anthemic rhythms. Once again though it is the vocals of Cornick which seal the deal and you sense she still has plenty in reserve if required. Her keys also bring a flavoursome hue and expression to the excellent song before it makes way for the similarly impressive Better Things, another easy blaze of blues rock but with a stoner caress and hard rock vivacity. As its predecessors, the song is pure infectiousness, not a song to inspire a riot but an encounter with plenty of seduction to get its way.

It is a strong and appealing conclusion to a similarly impressing release. Certainly the production is good but it does prioritise Cornick and inspires a slight niggle about the subservience of the music. You at times just wish it would catch fire, find a spark to give it more of a snarl. It is almost as if the music is laying a base for the excellent vocals rather than embracing them on mutual terms but this is a band in progress and you can easily feel this will all come good eventually. Even if not, when a proposition is this enjoyable it is impossible to be dissatisfied in any real size or form. Watch out for The Delta Rhythm, they have the wares and skills to make a big name for themselves.

The Break The Surface EP is available now from www.facebook.com/deltarhythm

www.twitter.com/thedeltarhythm

8/10

RingMaster 13/06/2014

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Gwyn Ashton – Radiogram

Following up his acclaimed 2009 album, Two-Man Blues Army, blues guitarist Gwyn Ashton returns with new release Radiogram, a ten track feast of thrilling and sizzling guitar passion. With drummer Kev Hickman alongside, Ashton had created an album which shows why he is so highly rated by the likes of Robert Plant, Johnny Winter, and Don Airey. Radiogram is a vibrant slice of blues driven rock n roll, a collection of songs which burst through the ear with enterprise, invention, and mesmerising skill.

Welsh born and an Australian resident since the mid sixties to the nineties, the now European based Ashton has drawn great and eager responses to his music and play since picking up the guitar at age 12 and playing in his first band when 16. Across the past couple of decades he has toured with the likes of BB King, Ray Charles, Buddy Guy, Mick Taylor, Rory Gallagher, Peter Green, Junior Wells, Johnny Winter, Canned Heat, Robin Trower, Jeff Healey, The Yardbirds, Status Quo, and Magnum, whilst recorded with such luminaries as Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds), Robbie Blunt (Robert Plant), Chris Glen/Ted McKenna (SAHB, MSG), Don Airey (Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne), and Gerry McAvoy/Brendan O’Neill (Rory Gallagher). It is a CV to ignite the passions, something his new album easily emulates.

The sixth album from Ashton also finds an array of high profile guests involved alongside he and Hickman, those involved including  Don Airey, Kim Wilson, Robbie Blunt, Johnny Mastro (LA’s Mama’s Boys), Mark Stanway (Magnum, Phil Lynott), and Mo Birch (UB40, Go West, Culture Club). Radiogram only takes the length of its initial soundbite before enticing the emotions to wake up and pay full attention. Once into its stride opener Little Girl sizzles with heated riffs and forceful rhythms whilst the strong vocals cap the impressive first engagement of accomplished rock n roll. The track saunters and dawdles in turn as Ashton leaves fiery sonic shards across the song for a stirring start.

The album is a release which with great variety continually leaves one excited and wholly satisfied. Songs like the brilliant and best track on the album, Let Me In, with its teasing blues swagger and great mouth organ mastery, the classic sounding Dog Eat Dog, and the smouldering For Your Love to just pick a trio, all lifting one up in irresistible muscular arms to devour with ease their compulsive and rich majestic sounds from full imaginative hearts. The album is a release which you do not have to be a blues enthusiast to draw much pleasure from, even those with harder more abrasive tastes like us cannot avoid being magnetised by the craft and stirring sounds at work.

Also featuring a great version of the Willie Dixon/Muddy Waters song I Just Wanna Make Love To You and the simply hypnotic instrumental Bluz For Roy which closes the album and alone shows why the guitarist is so strongly thought of, Radiogram is one of the best  rock albums to appear this year. Gwyn Ashton may still be an undiscovered name for many outside of blues but the album will certainly go a long way to changing that as its impressive sounds reach wider searching ears.

www.gwynashton.com

RingMaster 29/10/2012

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