Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Record Review - Forrest McDonald Band

Published in the Shortlist section of The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday August 15.

The Forrest McDonald Band
Turnaround Blues
World Talent Records

Forrest McDonald isn’t a household name, but you’ve heard his work. That guitar solo in Bob Seger’s 'Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll'? That’s Forrest McDonald. He’s also played with the likes of Bobby Womack, Bonnie Bramlett and Jimmy Reed, jammed with Van Halen and released a slew of blues/rock records off his own bat. He’s got the chops, even a cursory listen to Turnaround Blues, his latest, confirms that.

Immersed deep within that Texas blues sound made so famous by Stevie Ray Vaughn, McDonald still manages to keep things fresh over the course of the album’s 14 tracks. Songs like the soft 'I’m A Fool' and the gospel-like 'River Of Tears' intersperse foot-to-the-floor rock ‘n’ rollers – the title track burns; 'R&R By Bye Bye' chugs and grinds; 'Funny Thing Baby' rumbles along, all showcasing McDonald’s impressive guitar prowess.

While Turnaround Blues could be a little more cohesive (sometimes the placement of the slower numbers abruptly halts the thread), it’s solid work from a man who knows the blues/rock score, and who applies it with taste and style.

Samuel J. Fell