Monday, 2 November 2015

RUSSELL SINCLAIR - ALBUM REVIEW

Russell Sinclair - Bought & Sold 
Russell Sinclair - Bought & Sold

Release Date: Out Now

Plymouth based musician Russell Sinclair is rapidly developing a 'name' for himself as a bit of a modern Blues legend but it's the fact that he can throw in a bit of Swing and Roots that makes him really stand out for me. This latest album, 'Bought & Sold', is a fantastic advert for his various talents and gets off to a flying start with the instrumental 'The Rock' - presumably an ode of love to the former wrestling persona of Dwayne Johnson. Listeners are treated to a full band tune that would either work as a musical interlude on Happy Days or be some fantastic music for a cheesy American voice over artist to introduce a chat show host over. Album title track 'Bought & Sold' is a more slow burning, Louisanna style Blues tune with snake hips and seductive organs whispering away in the back room. It's party time again on 'Mr Bigshot' as things get groovy with a slick horn section and some more excellent organ work giving Sinclair the space for his vocals to take flight.

There's a more country vibe on 'Brave New Day' with some shuffling drums and lots of lyrics about long blonde hair and drinking while the mandolin tinkles away in the background. There's a slightly Latin vibe to 'Beautiful War' while 'Bigger Man' settles in to a more Sunday afternoon style with some lazy saxophone and drums that are emerging yawning from a New York apartment bedroom with a semi and serious bed hair. The Boogie-Woogie of 'Born Blind', however, is absolute triumph as Sinclair makes his guitar sing and wail while the rest of the band pull all the stops out including some excellent harmonica work. There is a delicate feel to 'Face The Rain' which gives us a chance to experience Sinclaire stripped back to acoustic guitar and raw vocals as a countrified ballad builds superbly.

Russell Sinclair in full flow
The wonderful 'Cigarettes & Whisky' is an absolute triumph and shows just why Sinclair and his band are in such high demand as a live act around the UK with energy bursting from every note and beat. Swing is usually seen as more of a dance move these days but Sinclair is bringing it back with an authentic  feel and a whole lot of passion to boot. There is a slightly vaudeville feel to 'My Oh My' as a kazoo makes an appearance but, as with every tune on this collection, there is an honesty and joy behind the performance and the songcraft. The album closes on 'Turn It Black', a beautiful banjo lead tune that conjures up imagines of long grass, longer afternoons and denim dungarees with a button missing. Long, ramshackle trains will roll through the American country with this tune rattling between the wheels and hobos humming along. Russell Sinclair was an unknown to me before hearing this album but he sounds like he's been singing these songs for decades and perfecting them along the way. He's a real talent and a pioneer for bringing original Blues and Swing music back to the UK scene - who would have expected that to come out of a South Devon city, eh?!

More information: https://www.facebook.com/russellsinclairmusic/?fref=ts

Listen/Download Here: http://russellsinclair.co.uk/

Live Dates:

5th November - The Blues Bar & Grill, Plymouth
6th November - The Lopes Arms, Plymouth
7th November - Oval Tavern, Croydon
12th November - Refectory Bar, Plymouth
13th November - B-Bar @ Barbican Theatre, Plymouth
19th November - The Blues Bar & Grill, Plymouth
26th November - Refectory Bar, Plymouth
28th November - Celtic Beer Festival, St Austell
19th December - Annabels Cabaret, Plymouth

16th April - The Carclaze, St Austell 

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