A1 Records (label)
01 July 2018 (released)
14 July 2018
Finnish guitar wizard Ben Granfelt has had fingers in many musical pies since first making a name for himself in the 80s. As well as recording and touring with his own Ben Granfelt band for nearly a quarter of a century, he’s served time with such disparate outfits as Leningrad Cowboys, Guitar Slingers, Gringos Locos, British prog/blues legends Wishbone Ash, and the wonderfully-named Finnish rock n’ roll combo Los Bastardos Finlandeses. Oh, and he’s also achieved black belts in two different martial arts. Feeling inadequate yet?
You’d forgive Mr Granfelt a spot of self-indulgent musical noodling this late into his career, but happily, ‘My Soul To You’ boasts not only great musicianship, but also some genuinely great songs. As you might expect from the record’s title, he’s in a contemplative mood, ruminating on human nature on opening track ‘Weight Of The World’, and delivering a simple but effective love song on the title track – both with melodies that will burrow their way into your memory without you even realising. Later on, he ropes in friend and fellow musician Bryn Jones to lend his soulful, whiskey-soaked tones to ‘My Heroine’, another understated highlight.
In contrast, ‘Fuel To Burn’ and a cover of PJ Harvey’s ‘This Is Love’ – both featuring vocals from Granfelt’s wife Jasmine Wynants-Granfelt – boast a glorious blues-rock stomp (the latter reminiscent of prime ZZ Top), whilst ‘Life, Living and You’ is a surprisingly catchy, upbeat ode to getting away from it all. Like much of the record, there’s a sense that this is the result of good friends and bandmates getting together and enjoying themselves – nothing sounds forced or over-produced.
The closing instrumental ‘Sunrise’ doesn’t really add much to the record, but overall ‘My Soul To You’ is an impressive and highly accessible effort, with the kind of organic feel that belies the care and attention that Granfelt has clearly lavished on it. Scandinavian blues-rock remains in expert hands.