Friday, 27 September 2013

Record Review - Pete Cornelius

Published in the Shortlist section of the Sydney Morning Herald, Friday September 27.

Pete Cornelius
Independent / Only  Blues Music

Tasmanian Pete Cornelius is only in his late 20s, but this is a man who knows and plays the blues like someone three, four times his age. Releasing his first record at age 13, Cornelius has quietly gone about forging a reputation as not only a stellar guitar slinger, but also as one not content to merely lay down 12 bars, really getting into the songwriting and arranging aspect of this oldest of genres.

Groundswell sees Cornelius at the top of his game in that respect. Bringing in various horns to bulk out the sound, along with lashings of Hammond organ and piano, it’s an album in which the man explores more of a swing/blues aspect (opener, ‘Drinking The Blues’), a gospel bent (‘Cold Water’), a driving, jagged blues shuffle (‘Repo Man’), a freeform N’awlins groove (‘Talkin’ Bout New Orleans’).

It’s a mixed bag to be sure, and while it doesn’t pack as much of a punch as his rawer straight blues recordings, it does sit together well, as mature an old recording from a young man as you’ll ever find.

Samuel J. Fell

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