Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Danny Bryant - Hurricane - A Big Storm

Danny Bryant - the big man brings it. He doesn't play like he's chasing ghosts - no, he plays like he's chasin' down the devil, and he's got him in his sights. He's furious and fearless - if all blues rock rocked like this I'd be kinder to the genre.

This guy is the complete package - he plays like the house is on fire, a Fret-King Corona SP 50 guitar (if you aren't familiar with Fret-King, that's Trev Wilkinson's company - if you don't know Trev, I can't much help you) sneaking through an angry way into a Marshall half stack seems to be his formula, and it sounds like raging magic. Bryant is also an excellent singer - he's got a great voice, very rare in a genre filled with hands, and few throats. To top it off, he can write songs - these tunes live on their own without tripping over all the tired cliches. In short, Danny Bryant is the real deal.

The album blasts off with a throbbing rocker entitled, Prisoner of the Blues - Bryant seems to know the skeletons that hide in every corner, and as he barrels down the highway he's swerving past them all. This has genuine swagger and big bluster - he has a solid band behind him, and they sound like a band, not a bunch of over paid sessioners. His solo rips the throat out of his wah, and throws it down when he's done - super bad.

31 Greenwood - ring a bell? The beloved Hubert Sumlin was born in Greenwood, Mississippi in 1931, and not many guys could move me in tribute, but Danny does it. Drummer Trevor Barr brings some Bonhamesque backbeats, and bassist Ken Barr manages to keep things solid without weighing things down as so many young blues bassists do - if you see him smiling in videos, it may because he brought his boy up right.

Next up is a ballad that will be dearly loved by anybody who remember what Gary Moore, and Michael Schenker could do with a piano in the room. Bryant really shows his songwriting and singing off here to wonderful effect. Melody is thick on this one, and the drama is delivered believably. His guitar fills are melody, not the same old, tired blues riffs, and when he solos, it is memorable and soaked with feeling. Can't Hold On shows Bryant to be a very complete package, indeed.

Hurricane is a mid-tempo rocker that has a great chunky guitar riff that sounds like it walked off of an '80s MTV video set (in a great way). This type of guitar rock can come off terribly, but again, this guy pulls it off convincingly. Bryant must have been spoon fed great music since birth - it's attached to his DNA. His singing gives me hope for his generation, and you haven't heard me say that in  a while.

When he tackles a genre, or a song style, Bryant is smart enough to try to up the ante, and not just lick at boots. Devil's Got A Hold On Me is a Texas boogie, but his Strat-edged tone bites perfectly, with enough serration on the edge to keep things cutting.This tune isn't as adventurous as those previous, but he's still keeping me engaged - I try to nit pick, but that's all it would be. The solo sails - you know where it's coming from, but he owns it, and that is what matters.

Danny Bryant is a great singer - I'm Broken will thrill fans of Glenn Hughes's phrasing and vibrato. He's the best blues belter since Gary left us, and that is no small praise. I don't bandy Moore's name around casually, nor my buddy Glenn's. His guitar tone is always right on the mark - it's all in the hands, but he also makes great use of the right tools. Goddamn, this is good. At times he approaches the tones that made Deep Purple's forays into the blues such gems. I kid you not.

All Or Nothing again reminds me of Moore's Run For Cover album, on which Moore and Hughes came so close to connecting - it has the melodic synth underpinnings and the straight up beat that made Gary's poppier moments so delightful. I hate to keep dragging in comparisons, but if the shoe fits, and I'm referring to some of my favorite moments of an era, and I want to remind you of them, as well. Bryant is today, but he connects with some magic I feared lost, and am thrilled to re-find.

This guy knows how to pull heart strings, in an era in which false emotion has become our shield - at a time when we need our hearts on our sleeves more than ever. Losing You is a delicate number that tugs gently and sweeps you into a cold, dark, and lonely alley to face your tears. This may be marketed as the blues, but I'm hearing all kinds of rock and pop - have we gotten so stuck in a pentatonic haze that we've forgotten what true beauty is? Danny Bryant's solos are achingly right - his sound is the perfect combination of Hank Marvin melody, and Schenker fueled passion. Again, if you don't get that, look them up.

Danny Bryant is a great musician, and an impassioned soul - I hope you give him a good listen, it will do your heart right. He breaks out an acoustic on the album closer, Painkiller, and again, the son-of-a-gun avoids the obvious somehow, and this is his, all his. His voice keeps stunning me - it fits the songs, and that's where it all begins, the songs. He decorates them in a manner that is maybe more stately and beautiful than I've heard in some time. When he leans into the thick side of his Marshall's throaty distortion for the solo on this one, I am swept away in rock reverence.

I know I'm given to hyperbole, but goddamn this is a great record. Danny Bryant deserves a listen from anyone who reads this, and of course, a great many more. He's worked his ass off here, and delivered what I feel may be tough to beat in the blues rock field this year, though again - this isn't really at all what I would call a blues album, this is just good rock with some bluesy vbes. If you liked the hot guitar slingers of the '80s, who combined melody with chops, great vocals and songs, you are going to really dig this one.

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