Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Record Review - Chris Russell

Published in the Shortlist section of the Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 20 September.

Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk
Love & Theft

While the purists may dismiss boogie blues as the lazy man’s domain, truthfully it’s all about the groove, and this is a lot harder to accomplish than many give credit for. Melbournian Chris Russell is the master in this country, as adept at turning a single key run into a churning, foot-stomping free-for-all, as he is at turning a crowd of hip young things into diehard blues fans.

Second cut, Shakedown is a master class at this. Only eight tracks long, it’s high gear from the get-go, Dean Muller’s hypnotic drumming laying a bedrock from which Russell can build, songs becoming living, breathing things, unstoppable, road trains booming down the highway, no quarter asked, none given.

Russell’s voice is the perfect foil too, whisky-soaked and smoke stained, hurling blues platitudes out but making them sound real, urgent, for The Now. He throws in traditional tune ‘Catfish Blues’ (roughs it up), and finishes with the epic ‘Bad Motherfucker’, which is exactly what he is.

Samuel J. Fell