Thursday, December 27, 2012

Crossing The Line reviewed by Rick Davis

Crossing The Line
Simon McBride
Nugene Records
11 Tracks

Keeping in good com-pany with his Irish blues predecessors Rory Galla-gher and Gary Moore, the new kid on the block, Simon McBride, seems to be taking the European blues-rock scene by storm. Simon hales from Belfast, Northern Ireland, the hometown of the late great Gary Moore, where he started playing at the young age of 10. Completely self-taught, he entered and won Guitarist Magazine’s Young Guitarist of The Year competition performed at Wembley Conference Centre. Shortly after turning 16, he toured with the Belfast-based pioneering metal band Sweet Savage. In 1998, McBride changed his style, joining with fellow Irish-man Andrew Strong. The contrasting change to soul, R&B, and some pop allowed him to gain experience to align with blues and rock artists in developing his solo career. He established himself as a sensational blues-based guitarist releasing his debut album, Rich Man Falling on Nugene Records in 2008. By the time the follow-up CD, Since Then (Nugene Records), was released in 2010, he was opening in the UK and Ireland for Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Trucks, and Joe Satriani. After touring the UK in 2011, McBride's third CD, Nine Lives (Nugene Records), was released with nine in-concert and four acoustic tracks. After the release, Guitarist Magazine was convincing with the statement "Compelling evidence that McBride is now among the best players in Blues-rock anywhere in the world."

His newest release on Nugene Records Crossing The Line is a testament to his abil-ity as a singer, guitarist, and song writer. All but two of the tunes are original, opening with the original "Lead Us Away," echoing his thundering vocals and his blazing guitar. His raspy vocals and superb, fiery guitar licks lend themselves well to the David Clay-ton-Thomas classic "Go Down Gamblin'." He takes a slower more deliberate approach as he delivers the tune "No Room To Breath" with Mia Simone backing him on vocals, Paul Hamilton on drums, and Carl Harvey on bass. His guitar solos on this tune, "One More Try," and "Starve This Fever" are both haunting and precise much like Gary Moore's approach to blues. "Don't Be A Fool" is a hard drivin', rockin' masterpiece. "Alcatraz" introduces a powerful horn section driven by Davy Howell on saxaphone and Linley Hamilton on trumpet showcasing Simon's explosive guitar solos. In contrast, "A Rock And a Storm" is an acoustic ballad similar in style to a David Crosby and Gra-ham Nash tune. "Heartbreaker" and "Down To The Wire (Revisited)" capture both Simon's speed and control as a guitar player as well as his riveting vocals. "Home To Me" is the other cover song showcasing both the vocals and guitar of this talented young Bel-fast star.

Simon Mcbride represents the next genera-tion of superstars emerging in blues world today. His name will appear at some point in time on a list of legendary bluesmen.

Reviewed by Rick Davis

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