Adam Sweet – Sink or Swim 

Release Date: 11th September 2020

I must shamefully admit that Adam Sweet is not a name I have previously been aware of, but it is not a name I will forget in a hurry, I assure you. The Exeter based bluesman has amassed an albums worth of superb tracks and has brought in some of the finest musical talents of the South West of the UK to ably assist him in this task. So, let’s dive in and explore some more, shall we?

The album opens with ‘Working On It’ with strains of Wille & the Bandits or Kris Barras ringing out through the slide guitar notes and driving rhythms which make you want to fill the gas tank and head out on the open road. ‘You or Me’ rattles and rolls with some gorgeous harmonica playing courtesy of Ian Briggs while ‘Like It or Not’ takes things down a notch for a Van Morrison-esque slow jam that brings the organ to play with consummate ease. On ‘Something from Nothing’ there’s a Reef vibe to the groove and riffing while producer Josiah J Manning takes to the keys again to drive this one forwards – the assured vocals of Sweet are certainly at the helm though with an Eddie Vedder timbre.

Sweet switches to a gentle country ton on ‘Good Enough’ for a song full of tenderness, sumptuous lap steel and the kind of porch-spun balladry that makes you nostalgic for people you’ve never me and places you’ve never been. At first, ‘Miss You So’ seems to follow in the same vibe as the previous song but there’s an underlying menace and darkness that builds inside this one in to something with its heart in the American song book. ‘Devil’s Lake’ is perhaps my favourite song on this collection with it’s bone rattling blues riff and sharp percussion punching holes in the velvety blanket of organs – as instrumentals go it is pretty much as good as it gets.

‘Not a Moment too Soon’ has the slow stagger of a cowboy the morning after the night before ‘Fall From Grace’ starts with a steady groove before building in to an uplifting and joyful rock track that Bon Jovi would heartily approve of. Recent single ‘Trouble’ has a satisfying chug to the guitar work before giving way to the more mellow ‘Here to Nowhere’ which bobs along nicely, swollen by the backing vocals of Alex Hart and Joanna Cooke. The album closes out on ‘Something’ll Happen’ which nods to a dalliance with styles from other cultures and era and, perhaps, some new directions for the future. Sweet is, it would seem, an excellent all rounder but what runs through the core of all of these songs is a strong sense of authenticity and absolutely honesty that, along with the excellent riff work, is utterly infectious.

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