By Daniel Watts
Music Reviewer and Segment Producer
In April of 2015 the legendary guitarist and vocalist Randy Bachman added another album to his list of solo efforts with Heavy Blues. The album was produced by Kevin Shirley, released on the Linus Entertainment label and features Randy Bachman on guitar and vocals, Dale Anne Brendon on drums and Anna Ruddick on bass and vocals.
My initial reaction to Heavy Blues was that it sounded solid but did have a small rough patch. The opening song “The Edge” was that rough patch. To me, “The Edge” sounds like a throwback Pop song inspired by The Who, which doesn’t flow very well with the guitar driven Blues template used to sculpt the other ten songs. Because of this “The Edge” stuck out like a sore thumb at first. Given some time though, now I find the song to be unique and likable.
While spending time with Heavy Blues I quickly became fond of the production. The band recorded live and thanks to producer Kevin Shirley’s touch but also for pushing the band to be heavier and harder, these songs developed a thick and gritty but polished sound. I found Heavy Blues to have a decent flow. Bachman’s playing and vocals as well as Dale Anne Brendon and Anna Ruddick’s playing and singing are all fantastic in my opinion. Heavy Blues also features some excellent playing from an all-star lineup of special guests including Scott Holiday (Rival Sons), Joe Bonamassa, Neil Young, Robert Randolph (Robert Randolph and the Family Band), Jeff Healey, Peter Frampton and Luke Doucet.
Each of the songs on Heavy Blues sound well put together and well performed. My favorites off the album are “Bad Child” featuring Joe Bonamassa. “Bad Child” represents what the album is all about - Heavy Blues. I love the song’s twin guitar attack, one guitar is in overdrive and the other sounds as sharp as a knife. The song’s vibe is heavy, dark and blue. “Confessin' To The Devil” is an upbeat boppin’ track featuring the playing of the late and great Jeff Healey. His rounded guitar sound adds some sweetness to the song. Lastly, the title track sounds like lounge Blues turned up to eleven. The song has great playing across the board and is a pleasing listen.
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1. The Edge
2. Ton Of Bricks (Feat. Scott Holiday)
3. Bad Child (Feat. Joe Bonamassa)
4. Little Girl Lost (Feat. Neil Young)
5. Learn To Fly
6. Oh My Lord (Feat. Robert Randolph)
7. Confessin' To The Devil (Feat. Jeff Healey)
8. Heavy Blues (Feat. Peter Frampton)
9. Wild Texas Ride
10. Please Come to Paris (Feat. Luke Doucet)
11. We Need to Talk