Posts Tagged ‘Country Rock’

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 TEXAS SPECIAL PART TWO…VAN WILKS

OK, so I’ve just had my mind blown by DAVID GRISSOM last night at the “SAXON PUB” in Austin TX, when my friends and family tell me I have to go and see VAN WILKS, who happens to be on at the same bar the next night.TALK ABOUT HAVING YOUR MIND BLOWN !!!! This is the man who, when he has a birthday, ERIC JOHNSON and CHRISTOPHER CROSS come to play with him onstage !!

This is the man  to whose house BILLY GIBBONS of ZZ TOP goes to for jam sessions, leading to songs like DRIVE BY LOVER ( see  full story below)

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When you think Texas blues-rock, you think Van Wilks. There are few names that have lasted and flourished within the Texas music scene like Wilks. Fads come and go, but Van Wilks is here to stay, as evidenced by his latest release, 21st Century Blues.

Like the steam engine on the cover, 21st Century Blues, his first studio album in 10 years, is a powerful beast that keeps on rolling from start to finish. Recorded at studios in Austin and France, 21st Century Blues is the real deal. This diverse collection of songs highlights Wilks’ impressive guitar styling with his striking lyricism to create a contemporary blues-rock masterpiece.

As Wilks says, “This is not a typical “blues” record. This is “MY BLUES” and even though the songs jump from one feel to another the common thread that holds it all together is my guitar. It’s just that ‘Low Down, Wound Up, Rockin’ Texas Blues.’”

Born in Galveston, TX, Van Wilks began playing guitar at a young age as a youthful refuge while his family constantly moved around Texas. Influenced heavily by the British Invasion, Wilks began to hone in on his sound early on. He moved to Austin in the early 70s, a time when guitar was defined by volume and power. Combining previous influences and his own style, Wilks brought his guitar muscle and class to the people of Austin through his popular band, Fools. Wilks’ distinct and unique ability caught the attention of many notable industry names, including ZZ Top manager, Bill Ham. In 1979, he signed with Mercury records and released his first record, Bombay Tears, in 1980.

Since his first release, Van Wilks has built an illustrious career that includes six solo albums, one live album, and multiple globe-spanning tours with acts such as ZZ Top, Heart, Van Halen, Journey, Aerosmith, and countless other. His career has led him on a scorched earth path from Texas to Moscow, the Virgin Islands to India, and everywhere in between. Along with that, Van Wilks was featured on ZZ Top’s Live at Montreux Jazz Festival DVD.securedownload-8

Throughout the years, Wilks has acquired an impressive trophy collection, winning multiple Austin Music Awards, being voted best electric and acoustic guitarist in the Austin Chronicle Readers Poll, and being inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. In addition to that, Wilks guitar prowess has been featured on albums such as the Geezinslaw Brothers’ The Eclectic Horseman (w/ Willie Nelson), The Texas Christmas Collection (Duet w/ Eric Johnson), Texas Guitarslingers Volume I, Double Trouble’s Been A Long Time, and KLBJ-FM’s Local Licks.
Van Wilks credentials highlight his successful and storied past. 21st Century Blues lets us know that Van Wilks will continue to be a trendsetter that is here to stay.

Take a listen now, to some of the songs that show just how great VAN WILKS is.!!

DRIVE BY LOVER

As described by Wilks, the path to having “Drive By Lover” on the album was long and winding. “We played around with the idea for years in late night hours at my house on Elizabeth St. in South Austin. It was forgotten until Billy asked me if I could revive it or even remember it! I sent him a few vignettes from a barely working cassette and a few hours later he played me the track from a LA studio. ‘Whip up some words, Dusty’s ready to give it a go’, he said. So I put the pen to the paper and the, long in the making, tune ends up on ZZ’s ‘La Futura.’ Billy came out to the studio and we “messed it up” just right for my take on our tune.”

Just Walk Away

Beautiful guitar tones and chords in this tune, evoking a smokey lonesome night in some faraway jazz/blues nightclub.Van Wilks gets all the deserved accolades for his songs and guitar playing, but he also possesses a great singing voice, showcased here on Just Walk Away.As you would expect, the guitar breaks  ooze feel and emotion.

THERE’S A SIN IN THERE SOMEWHERE

Very authentic old blues intro, sounding like a lost Robert Johnson song, but then things really take off and the song morphs into a furious slidefest of a rocker, featuring another stunning guitar solo, after which the song takes another twist and turn before kicking back in with the main guitar riff.Glorious stuff.What I love about Van Wilks is that he takes great care in keeping things interesting.There is always a surprise in store just when you start to get easy in the song.

BADLY MISTAKEN 

Explosive track from the album TEXAS JUKIN’ kicks off in half time guitar bass and drums then hammers into a full steam ahead rocker which matches THIN LIZZY at their peak of powers I kid you not !!Superb drumming on this too and yet another killer solo section from Van Wilks with its customary twists and turns to keep up the interest.Killer track which I cannot stop listening to.

BLUES FOR DELPHINE

Another track from TEXAS JUKIN’, this is all instrumental which I would describe as  a slow Fusion Blues featuring stunning guitar work from Van Wilks who manages to keep the interest at its peak with his trademark twist in the musical plot.If JEFF BECK came from Texas it would sound like this !!Breathtaking.

21ST CENTURY BLUES

Title Track from the latest Van Wilks album, and what a cracker it is.A slow paced blues boogie tune that rocks along with gorgeous guitar tones and sumptuous slide breaks.

Truth is I could have featured every track on every album by Van Wilks and you would not be disappointed.The Man has a knack for crafting perfect guitar tones within an endless supply of great songs which are much more than cobbled together riffs.These are real songs composed by a master musician who also possesses a great voice, and, like all true Greats of the music business, is a genuinely engaging man to boot.

If you do not have a VAN WILKS album in your collection , you need to rectify that right now, and if you ever visit Austin Texas, you simply have to track this man down at one of his shows to see how he does this in the flesh !! And tell him I sent you !!!!!!!

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ADRIAN FISHER

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SARAH PEACOCK

The perfect marriage of Ann Wilson and Sheryl Crow, Sarah Peacock is a country-rock powerhouse! Peacock delivers intensity and passion, while her memorable melodies soar over heartfelt lyrics.Sarah’s song “Hurricane” won best song in the 2014 American Songwriting Awards. Her song, “Beautiful” was a winner in the 2014 Unsigned Only Competition. Sarah was also named The Listening Room Network’s Artist Of The Year,

In June she showcased at Nashville’s CMA Fest and is currently wrapping up a brand new project with Nashville producer Ken Coomer.

Albuquerque Sky (Feb, 2013) is the latest full-length studio release from Sarah Peacock. Peacock produced the entire album over 15 months, 70,000 miles, and 300 shows in various studios, homes, closets, cars, airplanes, and hotels across America in 46 different states. It was mixed and mastered in Nashville and has received critically acclaimed reviews. She released Live From The Red Clay Theatre in October 2013 with her band and continues to perform 250 dates a year worldwide. Her most notable performance last year was the CBS Morning Show in New York City (performing “Hurricane,” a tribute song to Hurricane Sandy victims).

HURRICANE   https://youtu.be/2EPFkHyAWZ4

Sarah Peacock is a rare talent these days ! Not often do you find a Singer/Songwriter who grabs you with a vocal the first few seconds you hear it, but she does it on HURRICANE. Her voice is crystal clear, articulate, but with a power and warmth of tone that can’t be taught !!! Sarah uses her voice as an instrument like  only true musicians do, and her beautiful tone never falters as she reaches falsetto highs or bassy lows. Incredible.!! She also thinks about her lyrics such as the wonderful lines

“Let your heart be thirsty ground …And I will be your rain”

HURRICANE is beautifully written and produced,a master song if ever there was one.

BEAUTIFUL    https://youtu.be/a1nqafHdueA

Nice coupling of Adorable with Ignorable in the opening verse, featuring beautiful instrumentation for the backing.

The chorus kicks into life with soaring vocals which make this such a good, commercial song.

Another great tune and vocal performance.

THE COOL KIDS   https://youtu.be/-sLaUL6ZW1o

Another great opening line “I am rubber, You are glue” !!! A heartfelt story of being excluded from the “In Crowd” or the Cool Kids. Such a great song of just voice and guitar portraying how cruel life can be sometimes to those seemingly marginalised kids, and yet kids can be cool in other ways outside of the spotlight.Awesome. !! And even cool kids can be bullied in other ways.

With a voice and talent like Sarah Peacock’s, she deserves to be a superstar.May the Man Upstairs look down on her and make things right by granting her wish !!

ADE FISHER

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